Remembering Cliff Robinson

Remembering Cliff Robinson

Clifford Robinson suited up for 1,380 NBA games. Only 12 men can say they played in more. He was only a one-time All-Star with no All-NBA selections, but Robinson was a consistently good player on consistent playoff contenders. He played in the playoffs in 17 of his 18 seasons, making two trips to the NBA Finals with the Portland Trail Blazers in 1990 and 1992.


Robinson attended the University of Connecticut. In four years, Robinson averaged 15.3 points per game and 6.1 rebounds per game. He made the 1988 All-Big East 3rd Team and 1989 All-Big East 2nd Team. In 1988, Robinson starred on the UConn team that won the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). He was named to the all-tournament team. UConn retired his jersey “00” in 2007.

Portland Trail Blazers:

Portland selected Robinson with the 36th pick in the 1989 NBA draft. Robinson spent eight successful years with the Trail Blazers, averaging 16.2 points per game. He was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 1993, and he made his lone All-Star game in 1994. From 1993 to 1996, Robinson averaged 20.4 points per game while hitting almost 36 percent of his threes. Robinson would have likely thrived as a stretch big man in the modern NBA. Robinson set the franchise record for consecutive games played, playing in 461 games in a row.


Phoenix Suns:

In 1997, Robinson signed with the Suns during free agency. In four seasons, Robinson averaged 16.4 points per game, hitting 37 percent of his threes. On Jan. 16, 2000, Robinson scored 50 against the Denver Nuggets. In 42 minutes, Robinson hit 17-of-26 shots including three triples. He was also steady at the free-throw line, connecting on 13-of-15 attempts. He was the ninth-oldest player to record a 50-point game, and he remains the oldest player to have his first career 50-point game.

Detroit Pistons:

Robinson was traded to the Pistons following the 2001 season. He started in 149 of 161 games over two seasons. He averaged 13.4 points per game on 36 percent from three, but he only shot 41 percent from the field and below 70 percent from the free-throw line.


Golden State Warriors:

Robinson spent 124 games with the Warriors, starting 111 of them. He was solid as he put up 10.7 points per game, but his shooting percentages continued to slip.

New Jersey Nets:

The Nets acquired Robinson in February of 2005. Over the next three seasons, Robinson played 21.5 minutes per game for the fading Eastern Conference powerhouse, scoring 5.8 points per game. In July of 2007, Robinson announced his retirement.

A Career in Review:

Robinson averaged 14.2 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game, and 2.2 assists per game over his 18-year career. He was inefficient inside the three-point line with a career mark of 45.9 percent and a free-throw mark of 68.9 percent. However, his 35.6 percent rate from three-point land would be enticing in the modern NBA. He took 471 threes during the 1996 season, the 13th-most in NBA history to that point. Even now, Robinson’s 471 attempted threes is the 10th-most by a player listed at 6-foot-10 or taller. Only Peja Stojakovic (twice), Rashard Lewis (twice), Danilo Gallinari, Kevin Durant (twice), Brook Lopez, and Davis Bertans have shot as many threes while being that tall.


Robinson had a unique career with a unique personality. Portland fans will remember “Uncle Cliffy” fondly. Survivor fans will remember Robinson from his appearance in Survivor: Cagayan.


Cliff Robinson died on Aug. 29, 2020. He was 53 years old. He will be missed.

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Main Image Credit:

Embed from Getty Images



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