Former Trail Blazer “Uncle” Cliff Robinson played 18 season in the NBA, the first eight of those in Portland. He didn’t miss a game his first five seasons and missed just 13 of a possible 656 games in his entire career as a Trail Blazer. All told, Robinson played 1,380 regular season games, ninth all-time in NBA history, and 141 playoff games. And his 42,561 minutes played are 20th all-time in NBA history. Basically, Uncle Cliffy was able to hang around a long time in one of those most competitive leagues in the world.
But the skills and traits necessary to carve out nearly two decades in the NBA obviously don’t translate over to played out reality shows, as Robinson was voted off CBS’s Survivor: Cagayan after just the fourth episode. By all accounts, Robinson was well liked, honest and one of the best, if not the best, cast member at challenges, particularly those requiring feats of strength. In the end, I guess the qualities that made Robinson a good teammate are the very reasons he was voted off, as he was seen as a threat to the other players, specifically some tribal-tattoo adorned meathead police officer from New Jersey who really seemed to dislike Uncle Cliffy for whatever reason.
“I know that, in this game, people get voted off for any reason,” said Robinson. “Any reason you could think of, people have been voted off this game. But most professional or former athletes who have had the opportunity to play this game are targeted for that simple fact, that they have played professional sports in some capacity. I knew that was going to be something that eventually was going to come up amongst some of the people playing the game.”
I sometimes wonder just how “real” reality shows are, but Cliff being punished for being a decent person with actual skills is pretty much exactly how things work in the real world as well, so kudos CBS for nailing humanity.