Former Portland Trail Blazers all-star reality TV star Cliff Robinson has died aged 53.
The basketball player’s death was announced Saturday by his alma mater, the University of Connecticut, on Twitter: “The UConn Basketball family mourns the loss of legendary player and person, Clifford Robinson. Our thoughts and prayers are with Cliff’s family during this difficult time. Rest in peace, Cliff.
No further details were immediately disclosed.
“He was our first big player,” former UConn Huskies coach Jim Calhoun told David Borges of Hearst Connecticut Media. “He came from a difficult background in Buffalo; I saw him evolve as a man. … He was a great man, he had a great career and was instrumental in a lot of the great things that happened at UConn.
Robinson has been a major contributor to the Huskies in his last three college seasons, averaging 20 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks as a senior. In the 1989 draft, he was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers as a second round pick. He was named the NBA’s sixth man of the year for the 1992-93 season before playing his first and only all-star game in 1994.
Robinson played for the Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors and New Jersey Nets before retiring from the sport in 2007.
Robinson is also known for his appearance on Survivor: Cagayan, the 28th season of the series. The Brains vs Brawn vs Beauty theme landed Robinson in the Brawn Tribe, where he attempted to hide his identity but was quickly recognized by the Woo Hwang tribemate. Robinson’s towering presence eventually became a handicap, and he became the fifth castaway to vote for the series.