Cliff Robinson, who played with the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns, has died at the age of 53. On Saturday evening, the Robinson family released a statement, which included Robinson’s cause of death. He had battled Lymphoma for the past year.
“The UConn Basketball family mourns the loss of a legendary player and person, Clifford Robinson,” the University of Connecticut Men’s Basketball Team tweeted Saturday morning. Robinson was a former player for the university.
Robinson was drafted out of the University of Connecticut to play for the Trail Blazers in 1989 and was a critical player for the eight seasons he played there. Nicknamed “Uncle Cliffy,” the beloved player retired in 2007, following a 19-year career.
Robinson helped lead the Trail Blazers to two NBA Finals and won the 1993 Sixth Man of the Year Award before playing for the Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors and New Jersey Nets. He was selected as an All-Star once, in 1994.
“The Trail Blazers organization is deeply saddened by the passing of Trail Blazers great Cliff Robinson. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Cliff’s family & loved ones. Uncle Cliffy will be greatly missed by the Trail Blazers & all of Rip City,” his former team said on Twitter.
“Clifford was ahead of his time, as he saw the value of building bridges between the Buffalo police force and the community long ago,” said the family statement. “On July 30, he was asked by his friend ‘What do you think about the NBA Chief Executive Officer Adam Silver supporting the players in the call for social justice?’ He said ‘They’re trying. Took a minute, but I applaud them.’”