Skip to main content

Former NBA Player, UConn Standout Clifford Robinson Dies at 53

Former NBA player Clifford Robinson has died, UConn, his alma mater, announced on Saturday. He was 53.

"The UConn Basketball family mourns the loss of a legendary player and person, Clifford Robinson. Our thoughts and prayers are with Cliff’s family at this difficult time," the school said in a tweet. "Rest In Peace, Cliff."

No cause of death was initially provided.

Before arriving in the NBA, Robinson starred with the Huskies. Eventually he was named to UConn's All-Century men's basketball team. His number, "00," was also retired in 2007.

Scroll to Continue

SI Recommends

Robinson was selected No. 36 overall in the 1989 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. He spent the first eight seasons of his career with Portland, winning the 1992-93 Sixth Man of the Year award and making the Western Conference All-Star team in 1993-94. 

"He's our best defensive big man off the ball and on the ball," Blazers star Clyde Drexler told Richard Hoffer in a 1993 Sports Illustrated profile on Robinson. Offensively, his potential is unlimited. He's a '90s-type player."

He later also made two All-Defensive teams in 1999-00 and 2001-02. 

"The Trail Blazers organization is deeply saddened by the passing of Trail Blazers great Cliff Robinson," Portland said in a statement. "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. ... We extend our heartfelt condolences to Cliff's family and loved ones. Uncle Cliffy will be greatly missed by the Trail Blazers and all of Rip City."

All told, his NBA career lasted nearly two decades. In addition to his stint with the Blazers, Robinson played on the Suns, Warriors, Pistons and New Jersey Nets.