Popular former Blazer dies at 53
Former Trail Blazer Clifford Robinson talks with fans during a 2014 NBA game. Robinson is being remembered after his death at the age of 53. (AP photo)
Cliff Robinson, the popular former Trail Blazer and NBA All-Star is being remembers as much for his personality as his skills after his death on Saturday which was announced by the University of Connecticut where he played college basketball. He was 53.
Robinson, affectionately known as “Uncle Cliffy” was one of the NBA’s best sixth men during his 18-year NBA career.
“His personality and energy were unmatched, and his contributions on the court were unmistakable, helping the Trail Blazers into the playoffs each of his eight seasons with the team,” the Blazers said. “His streak of 461 consecutive games played with the Trail Blazers still stands as a franchise record, a testament to his hard work and dedication to the team,” a statement from the Blazers said.
No cause of death was given, though Robinson reportedly had a stroke 2 1/2 years ago and had went into a coma last week.
Robinson helped the Blazers reach the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992. He not only never missed the postseason in Portland but hardly missed any games at all, playing all 82 in each of his first five seasons and never appearing in fewer than 75.
“RIP Clifford Robinson - some of my earliest memories of NBA basketball were of you as the lifeblood to those early/mid 90’s Blazers teams. The Memorial Coliseum days!! RIP to a Portland legend,” tweeted Cleveland star Kevin Love, who grew up in Oregon.
Clifford Robinson was born on Dec. 16, 1966, in Buffalo, New York. He picked UConn over Syracuse and Oklahoma and became the centerpiece of Calhoun’s early teams. He played in Storrs from 1985-89, helping guide the Huskies from the bottom of the Big East to the 1988 NIT championship.
Robinson averaged just 5.6 points as a freshman but scored 20 a game as a senior before becoming a second-round pick of the Blazers.
Robinson was the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year in 1993 and made his lone All-Star appearance the following year. At 6-foot-11, he had the size of a center but was a skilled outside shooter.
He played 1,380 games in the league, ranking in the top 15 all-time. Besides the Blazers, Robinson also played for Phoenix, Detroit, Golden State and the Nets.
“Clifford was the consummate professional who loved the game and played with an incredible sense of both joy and intensity during his outstanding 18-year career, including two seasons with the Warriors,” Golden State said.
-Associated Press contributed to this story.