Friday, February 22, 2008

Uncle Cliffy

Cliff Robinson has always been one of my favorite NBA players, both as part of those tough to hate TrailBlazers teams with Clyde, Jerome Kersey, Terry Porter and Duckworth, and of course as a high-scoring, 50-point dropping Sun.

What drew me to Uncle Cliffy? Look no further than the headband (and maybe the red and black color scheme of the Blazers.) In Cliff's heydey, NO ONE sported the headband. I'm sure there were a couple of guys here and there but Cliff was the trendsetter, the OG if you will. As his career wound down, the headband made a stunning comeback and now damn near every player has rocked one at some point or another in their career. Cliff shouldn't be forgotten if for no reason other than making the headband cool again.

Note to current NBA players: when you put the logo right between your eyes, it looks stupid. Very stupid.

So why this sudden reminiscing when there's a huge game against the Celtics tonight? I say why not.

Some quick, interesting stats from Cliff's career:
-He became the oldest player at 33 years of age and two months to register his first 50-point game
-Won NBA Sixth Man of the Year with a record 90.8% of the vote after he averaged 19.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and career-best 1.99 blocks
-Robinson was currently one of only two players drafted in the 1980s still active in the league in 2007,[3] with the other being Kevin Willis
-At 6'10", he is the tallest player to make more than 1,000 three-pointers
-arrested for marijuana possession and DUI in 2001...and failed a couple drug tests in 2005 resulting in a suspension.

That last note isn't all that surprising, at least not for me. You see, Cliff Robinson and I have some history together. Not really, but here goes...

When going outside for an early morning butt with a friend after waking up from an all night drunk at a friend's house in a shady part of Scottsdale, we noticed the nicest Mercedes Benz we had ever seen parked just two spots from our buddy's front door. With the awe-inspiring Benz having dropped our jaws to the floor, we were at first oblivious to the tall, skinny and very well-dressed man walking towards the Benz.

Suddenly, my buddy elbowed me in the side, mumbling something that sounded like "Cliff Robinson...Cliff Robinson." I looked up from the Benz and sure enough, there was Uncle Cliffy strolling towards us after exiting an apartment owned by a person who could be best characterized as "a lady of the night."

Instead of telling the two hungover and wake and bake idiots to get away from his car, he flashed a sly grin, said "good morning, fellas" and got into his Benz. After a quick wave he was gone, leaving us to go completely apeshit over having seen Cliff Robinson up close and personal, post-dirty-Scottsdale sex romp.

I don't know if Cliff was married at the time and I don't really care. Who am I to judge a guy who led the 1999 Suns in scoring? This was Uncle Cliffy, who along with Monster Mash, was my favorite Sun at the time. This sounds silly, but at that point in my life, seeing Cliff, in my element no less, was an all-time great moment for me.

Of course, he went and fucked up a good thing in Phoenix by getting arrested not far from where I saw him, resulting in Colangelo jettisoning him to Detroit, ushering in a rebuilding era...that's turned out pretty well so far.

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