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Clifford Robinson (1966–2020), NBA star with the Portland Trail Blazers

by Linnea Crowther

Clifford Robinson was a basketball player best known for his career with the Portland Trail Blazers, having helped lead the team to two NBA Finals appearances.

UConn to the NBA

Robinson played basketball for the University of Connecticut Huskies beginning in 1985, and he was a standout player on a team that was working its way toward powerhouse status. After his 1989 graduation, Robinson signed with the Trail Blazers, where he played eight seasons and made NBA Finals appearances in 1990 and 1992 before winning the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award in 1993. In 1994, Robinson was an All-Star, and he set a franchise record that still stands by playing in 461 consecutive games. In 1997, Robinson signed as a free agent with the Phoenix Suns. It was with the Suns that he scored his career-best 50-point game in 2000, setting an NBA record as the oldest player in the league’s history to score his first 50-point game. In his later career, Robinson played for the Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, and New Jersey Nets. After his 2007 retirement, Robinson became an entrepreneur in the legal cannabis market, developing his “Uncle Cliffy” brand of cannabis products marketed toward athletes. Robinson competed in season 28 of “Survivor” in 2013.

Robinson on his 461-game streak

“You’ve got to be blessed, you’ve got to be a little bit lucky, and you also have to be willing to play through small injuries. I always wanted to be out on the court. I was playing with Jerome Kersey and Clyde Drexler and those guys, and I wanted to be out there with them. The last thing I wanted to do was not take advantage of the opportunity that I had.” —from an interview with Prohbtd

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Tributes to Clifford Robinson

Full obituary: The Oregonian

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