Fadeaway World

The Portland Trail Blazers of the early 90s was a hell of a team. Led by Clyde Drexler, the Blazers were fun to watch, an entertaining and winning team that had to go through the Showtime Lakers to establish as a real threat in the Western Conference. There is no doubt that they were great and the people in Portland remember that team with so much love and respect.

That’s the same reason why they lament every time a historic player passes away, as it was the case of Cliff Robinson, who left this world on August 28 after a yearlong battle with lymphoma, his family announced.

Robinson became the fourth player of the 1990 Portland Trail Blazers to die. That is a scary coincidence and very sad for the team’s fans.

Out of that 1990 squad, the first one who sadly passed away was Drazen Petrovic, who was drafted by the Blazers, played from 1989 through 1991 with the team before getting traded to the then-New Jersey Nets. Petrovic died in a car crash in 1993 when he was only 28 years old.

Kevin Duckworth, who passed away in 2008, spent six years with the team and was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player and a two-time All-Star. Duckworth died of heart failure in 2008, in his hotel room in Gleneden Beach, Oregon.

Jerome Kersey was a small forward drafted by the Blazers in 1994, playing the first 11 years of his career with the Blazers, reaching the NBA Finals twice (1990 and 1992). Kersey died from a pulmonary embolism caused by a blood clot in 2015. He was at home in Tualatin, Oregon.

Robinson was the last addition to this unfortunate list. The former big man was a very exciting player, he was called to the All-Star game in 1994, earned defensive awards and reached the Finals with the Blazers.

When you see this list, it’s crazy to think these players are gone now. Even Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, who grew up in the Portland area, couldn’t hide his surprise talking about all these players that have departed too soon.

“I can’t believe it,” Spoelstra said. “It’s shocking to me because I was in college and just right after college, so I’m not that much younger than the players on the Portland Trail Blazer team. And if you just look at that team, there’s four players that are not with us anymore. Starting with Drazen Petrovic, [Jerome] Kersey, [Kevin] Duckworth, and now Cliff Robinson. I’m shocked, I’m stunned, all you can do is send your prayers and condolences to the Robinson family.”

Death is part of life. At the end of that day, how you lived and what you achieved during that time is what matters the most. Fortunately, these players left a mark that won’t be erased.