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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

R.I.P. NBA All-Star and Survivor cast member Clifford Robinson

Illustration for article titled R.I.P. NBA All-Star and iSurvivor /icast member Clifford Robinson
Photo: Jerod Harris/WireImage (Getty Images)

Clifford Robinson has died. An 18-year veteran of the NBA—most notable for the eight years he spent with the Portland Trail Blazers, which saw him named an All-Star by the league in 1994—Robinson also made an appearance in the world of reality TV, appearing on the 28th season of CBS’s Survivor. Although no cause of death has been reported, Robinson reportedly had a stroke in 2017, and was treated for cancer in 2019. He was 53.

Robinson got his start playing college basketball for the University of Connecticut, before moving to Oregon as a 2nd round draft pick for the Blazers in 1989. He played with the team for most of the following decade, picking up accolades that included being named the NBA’s 6th Man Of The Year in 1993, and being named to the All-Star game in 1994—playing alongside and against the likes of Scottie Pippin, Shaquille O’Neal, and other major players of the day.

After ending his stint in Portland, Robinson bounced around the league, playing for the Suns, the Pistons, the Golden State Warriors, and finally the New Jersey Nets, before being let go from the league in 2007. It ended one of the longest careers in NBA history; Robinson ultimately played in 1,380 games, the 8th most in the entire run of the NBA.

Robinson next came to national prominence in 2013, when he appeared on the “Brains Vs. Brawn Vs. Beauty” season of Survivor, serving as a member of the “Brawn” team. Robinson made it to Day 14 of the competition, and was ultimately voted out 5th.


In addition to his TV work, Robinson also spent the latter years of his life in entrepreneurial pursuits—most notably in the field of cannabis, where he launched the “Uncle Cliffy” brand as a way to push for reform of legislation surrounding the drug. (The name being a reference to his old nickname from his basketball days.) He died this week in Portland, where he’d spent much of his NBA career.

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