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Cliff Robinson, Portland Trail Blazers legend, dies at 53 from lymphoma

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Cliff Robinson, Portland Trail Blazers legend, dies at 53 from lymphoma

Former Portland Trail Blazers All-Star Cliff Robinson died Saturday at the age of 53 after a yearlong battle with lymphoma.

His family confirmed the news on WGRZ in Buffalo. The University of Connecticut has also confirmed the news.

Robinson’s family released a statement later Saturday to confirm the cause of death.

The Portland Trail Blazers selected Robinson out of Connecticut in the second round of the 1989 NBA Draft. He played for the Blazers until 1997 and then went on to suit up for Phoenix, Detroit, Golden State and the New Jersey Nets.

Robinson, one of the few NBA players who wore a headband during his 19-year career, averaged 14.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. During eight seasons in Portland, he averaged 16.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.

Affectionately called “Uncle Cliffy,” Robinson was a major part of the Blazers teams that reached the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992. The 6-foot-10 Robinson spend most of his first four seasons with Portland coming off of the bench (30 starts in 328 games) behind a front line of Buck Williams, Jerome Kersey and Kevin Duckworth.

Robinson, known for his versatility, could play several positions and brought a jolt of energy to the court whenever he entered the game.

He was named the Sixth Man of the Year in 1993 when he averaged 19.1 points and 6.6 rebounds while starting only 12 games.

Duckworth died in 2008. Kersey died in 2015.

Robinson, born and raised in Buffalo, New York, became a regular starter the following season and was named an All-Star during the 1993-94 season when he averaged 20.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.

Robinson suffered a stroke in 2017 due to high blood pressure.

Robinson played four seasons at UConn from 1985 through 1989. In four seasons, he averaged 15.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest.

In retirement, Robinson became an advocate for the legalization of marijuana and wanted to destroy the myth that athletes and Cannabis don’t mix.

(Developing story)

— Aaron Fentress | afentress@Oregonian.com | @AaronJFentress (Twitter), @AaronJFentress (Instagram), @AaronFentress (Facebook).

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