Robinson, known affectionately by fans as “Uncle Cliffy,” had a star-studded career in the NBA with the Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, and New Jersey Nets. He received the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in 1993 and, in 1994, was selected for the NBA All-Star Game.
In 2014, Robinson competed in the 28th season of Survivor, where he finished in 14th place. The theme of the season was Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty, and Robinson, as a towering, athletic force at 6’10”, was naturally part of the Brawn tribe.
While Robinson initially hoped to keep his identity a secret from his fellow tribemates, he was instantly recognized by Woo Hwang, who confessed to being a huge fan of the NBA legend. “I have a few of your basketball cards, I’m not gonna lie,” Woo told Robinson.
Robinson quickly showed himself to be an affable and kind-hearted personality. With his deep, infectious laugh and big, bright smile, he made easy friends and provided great help to his tribe, particularly in challenges. However, his likability and closeness to Hwang and Lindsey Ogle made him a threat to other members of the tribe.
In one of the early highlights of Survivor: Cagayan, fellow Brawn tribe members Sarah Lacina, Tony Vlachos, and Trish Hegarty, planned to throw an Immunity challenge so that they could blindside Robinson. However, Robinson’s basketball skills saved him, winning the challenge despite the plan to tank him.
Unfortunately, after a tribe swap, Hegarty and Vlachos decided to jump ship to the Beauty tribe members, thereby eliminating Robinson in a shocking 4-3 vote. Robinson took the blindside in good spirits, though, wishing his tribemates good luck as he exited.
Inside Survivor sends its love and well wishes to the family and friends of Cliff Robinson.