Clifford Robinson, the former NBA All-Star and contestant on “Survivor,” has passed away at the age of 53. The UConn Huskies Men’s Basketball Twitter account confirmed the 1993 Sixth Man of the Year’s death on Saturday.
Robinson suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2017, but it is not clear if that played a role in his passing. Initial reports have not revealed the cause of death.
Clifford Robinson During College
Cliff Robinson starred at the University of Connecticut, and was the focal point of UConn’s basketball teams from 1985-89. He helped UConn reach the top of the Big East rankings, and led the team to the 1988 NIT Champioinship. UConn retired the Buffalo, NY natives’ number, 00, in 2007.
“It’s really sad to hear of this, because he was one of my kids, my players, a guy I watched grow into a man,” Calhoun said to The Associated Press. “It’s not an easy thing.”
“He was our first great player,” Calhoun continued. “He gave legitimacy to the program. As a player coming in, here’s this guy playing on TV for the Trail Blazers, watching him play, watching UConn being mentioned. You could not pay for the exposure that he gave us.”
Clifford Robinson’s NBA Career
The 6-foot-11 center/forward could play any of the 3 through 5 positions, because of his unique combination of size and athleticism. Robinson played for a lengthy 18 seasons in the NBA where he was famously known for wearing his signature headband. “Uncle Cliff” was a skilled center and outside shooter, and could be considered a pioneer of the modern NBA game.
Robinson’s streak of 461 consecutive games played with the Portland Trail Blazers is still a franchise record to this day. Additionally, Robinson is still ranked in numerous Trail Blazers’ all-time leader categories. They include 2nd in blocks, 5th in games played, 5th in total points, 6th in steals, 7th in made 3-pointers, and 10th in rebounds.
The Trail Blazers organization posted their condolences on Twitter on Saturday.
Robinson also played for the Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors and New Jersey Nets. He made the 1994 NBA All-Star team, and the NBA All-Defensive second team twice. When Robinson retired in 2007, he finished his career averaging 14.6 points and 4.6 rebounds after playing in a total of 1,380 career games – the 13th-most in NBA history.