Nobody knows winning quite like Clifford Robinson, whose teams have made the playoffs in all but one of his 15 NBA seasons.
In 2003, he was traded from Detroit to Golden State, a team that last qualified for the postseason in 1994, and Robinson’s playoff streak ended last season when the Warriors finished 37-45.
Chances are high that he’ll miss the postseason again unless trade rumors are true and a team such as Miami, Houston or New York pulls off a deal with Golden State for the 38-year-old power forward, who is in the final year of his contract.
Robinson says he’s content to stay with the Warriors, but would relish another shot at the NBA title. He came close to winning two championships with Portland, but the Trail Blazers lost in the 1990 Finals to Detroit and were defeated by Chicago in 1992.
Seattle Times: So how did you get the nickname “Uncle Cliffy?”
Clifford Robinson: Some ladies gave it to me in Portland. It kind of started in the playoffs. They saw me doing this dance and called it the “Uncle Cliffy” and it kind of stuck throughout my career.
ST: You’re what, 38? How have you lasted so long?
CR: I think good genetics. I’ve been blessed with that. I’ve had opportunities where I’ve been on teams where I’ve had opportunities to play to show that I’m a consistent player and capable of helping a team.
ST: Ever think about those days in Portland?
CR: Yeah, definitely. I think those days in Portland helped me to extend my career the way I have.
ST: How is that?
CR: Playing with those veteran players and getting the tutelage that I was able to get. You don’t really grasp it when you’re a young player and going through it at the time. Now that I look back on those days, I find myself doing some of the same things that those guys were doing.
ST: Are you flattered that your name has been brought up in trade rumors?
CR: Definitely. It tells me that teams like your game and would like to have you as a part of your team. But you can’t let yourself get caught up in that stuff because I’m here trying to help us turn things around.
ST: What’s your take on veteran players like Jimmy Jackson and (Alonzo Mourning) who hold out after being traded?
CR: You would love to be in a situation where your team is contending for a championship, but at the same time that, to me, would be more luck than anything. There’s only one team that’s going to win the championship, and you never know what team that will be. There’s no guarantees in this business. Everybody wants to be on a winning team.
ST: So would the idea to hold out ever enter your mind after a trade to a “bad” team?
CR: No. It would have to be a really bad situation for me to ever consider doing that. When I look around the league I don’t think there’s any situation where it’s that bad.
ST: How much longer do you want to play?
CR: My contract goes until the end of the year, and then we’ll see. Maybe another two years. Something like that. Not too much longer.