Cliff Robinson, the first NBA player to appear on the television show Survivor and an all-star during his 18-year pro basketball career, has died. He was 53 and his death was announced by the University of Connecticut, his alma mater. No cause of death was immediately given.
Robinson was a 6-foot-10 forward who helped UConn win the 1988 NIT title. He became a second-round draft pick of the Portland Trail Blazers in 1989, playing eight years for the franchise, helping it reach the NBA finals in 1990 and 1992.
Known as “Uncle Cliffy,” Robinson was named to one All-Star game in 1994 and won the NBA Sixth Man Award award for 1993-1994.
He went on to play for the Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors and New Jersey Nets. During his career, he averaged 14.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in 1,380 games. The game appearances were the 13th-most in NBA history.
UConn retired his jersey number in 2007.
In 2014, Robinson appeared in the 28th season of Survivor, finishing in 14th place in a season themed “Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty” and as Survivor: Cagayan.
Robinson was on the “Brawn” tribe. Although he tried to initially keep his identity secret, he was recognized by a fellow contestant. “I have a few of your basketball cards, I’m not gonna lie,” Woo Hwang told Robinson.
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