“UConn basketball family mourns the loss of a great player and person, Clifford Robinson,” UConn Men’s Basketball Tweeted Saturday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Cliff’s family in this difficult time. Rest in Peace, Cliff.”
Robinson spent 18 seasons in the NBA, playing with the Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors and New Jersey Nets. In 1993, he won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year, the award given to the league’s best-performing player to come off the bench as a substitute.
Clifford made the 1994 NBA All-Star Game and was a two-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 2000 and 2002. According to ESPN, he scored 14.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in 1,380 career games – 13th-most in NBA history.
Former Huskies coach Jim Calhoun told The Associated Press that Robinson had a stroke 2 1/2 years ago.
“It was really sad to hear that, because he was one of my children, my players, a man I saw as a man,” Calhoun said. “It’s not an easy thing … He was our first great player. He gave legitimacy to the program.”
Robinson, a cannabis entrepreneur known as “Uncle Cliffy”, won a NIT title from 1985 to 1989, playing for Yukon. The team retired their number, “00” in 2007.
The Portland Trail Blazers said in a statement, “The Trail Blazers organization is deeply saddened by the passing of Cliff Robinson, the great of the Trail Blazers.” “His personality and energy were unmatched, and his contribution on the court was unmatchable, helping the Trail Blazers in each of his eight seasons with the team … Uncle Cliff will be greatly missed by the Trail Blazers and all of Rip City.”
“We are shocked and saddened by the death of Clifford Robinson,” Golden State Warriors Tweeted. “Clifford was a consummate professional who loved sports and played with an incredible sense of both joy and intensity. We extend our thoughts and prayers to ‘Uncle Cliffy’ family and friends during this time.”
In 2014, Clifford competed in the 28th season of “Survivor”, dubbed 14th in the season, “Mind vs Bron Beauty.”
On the remote island of Cagayan in the Philippines, Clifford played with the “Bron” tribe. He tried to keep his identity a secret, but fellow contestant Wu Hwang identified the former basketball player.
Clifford is survived by his wife, Heather Lufkins, and son, Isaiah Robinson.