In the early 2000s, before Rasheed Wallace was a versatile big man for the Pistons, there was Clifford Robinson.
Anchored in the paint or roaming along the perimeter and searching for an open 3-point shot was unusual for a 6-foot-10 forward, but Robinson did it all in his 18-year NBA career.
Robinson passed away Saturday at the age of 53.
Robinson began his career with the Portland Trail Blazers, a second-round pick (36th overall) in the 1989 NBA draft. He played his first eight seasons in Portland, including earning sixth man of the year in 1993 and an All-Star selection in ’94. That was one of his best seasons, when he posted 20.1 points and 6.7 rebounds.
After four seasons with the Phoenix Suns, Robinson was traded to the Pistons for Jud Buechler and John Wallace in 2001. In those two seasons with the Pistons, he was a productive big man, playing power forward and having one of his best seasons behind the 3-point line, hitting 38% in 2002.
Over two seasons, Robinson averaged 13.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in 161 games, including 149 starts.
He was traded to the Golden State Warriors before the 2003-04 season, when the Pistons won the NBA championship, for Bob Sura.
Robinson grew up in Buffalo, New York and went to the University of Connecticut from 1985-89.