Knicks center Mitchell Robinson is grateful for the mentoring he received from his high school basketball coach, so now he’s returning the favor in Butch Stockton’s time of need.
Stockton was invited by Robinson, 25, to live with him at his home in New York as Stockton grieves the loss of his wife of 31 years, Dawn, who died at 70 from cancer in September.
Stockton, who coached the future NBA draft pick at Chalmette High School in Louisiana, spoke about Robinson’s heartwarming gesture during the MSG Network broadcast of Thursday night’s Knicks win over the Detroit Pistons.
“When my wife was in the hospital, Mitchell came each day to visit her and became very close to myself and my wife,” Stockton told MSG’s Rebecca Haarlow during the game. “After the funeral, Mitchell told everyone that he was going to bring me to New York with him.
“He said, ‘Coach, there’s no reason for you to stay down here in Louisiana anymore. You come to New York with me and enjoy yourself and get your mind back straight because you know how much you loved your wife and how much I loved your wife.’ And it’s just been a great situation.”
Stockton was later seen pumping his fist after Robinson, who only shoots 38.9% from the foul line, made two straight free throw attempts.
On Sept. 15, Robinson mourned Dawn Stockton’s death in a heartfelt Instagram post in which he shared a photo of her giving him a hug and one from her hospital bed.
“Momma I’m sorry so sorry this has happened to you,” he wrote, adding a broken-heart emoji. “I wish there was something I could have done to keep here you been to good to me and coach Stockton you’ll never be forgotten please keep me safe and watching over me like you been doing i love you.”
Robinson told reporters after the game that Stockton has been living with him since September and plans to live with him into 2024.
“He’s a great guy who helped me get to where I’m at,” Robinson said. “So you know, I’m bringing him along with me after everything that happened over the summer. It works out for the best. I can help him out. He helped me.”
The 7-foot Robinson became a McDonald’s All-American in high school as one of the best players in the country under Stockton’s tutelage. He signed to play with Western Kentucky but never ended up playing a game for the Hilltoppers and instead jumped straight to the NBA after he was selected as the 36th pick of the 2018 draft by the Knicks.
Robinson’s framed McDonald’s All-American jersey still hangs in the gym at Chalmette, according to The Athletic.
“If he could sleep here at Chalmette Gym, this is where you’ll find him at,” his mother, Lakesha Robinson, told The Athletic in 2019. “I didn’t have to call and ask where Mitchell was at. I would just pull up and be like, ‘OK, it’s time to come home.’”