‘Survivor’: Former Players and Jeff Probst Honor Cliff Robinson After His Passing

Former basketball player and Survivor: Cagayan star Cliff Robinson sadly passed away at the age of 53. Several former competitors and host Jeff Probst honored the NBA star after his unexpected passing.

Jeremiah Wood and Cliff Robinson wrestle during the reward challenge on the fourth episode of Survivor: Cagayan
Jeremiah Wood and Cliff Robinson wrestle during the reward challenge on the fourth episode of ‘Survivor: Cagayan’ | CBS

Cliff Robinson competed in the NBA

Born December 16, 1966, in Buffalo, New York, Cliff “Uncle Cliffy” Robinson played collegiate basketball at the University of Connecticut. His team won the 1988 National Invitation Tournament championship during his third year, and Robinson’s performance earned him a spot on the all-tournament team.

The school later named the star to UConn’s All-Century men’s basketball team. In 1989, the Portland Trailblazers selected Robinson with the 36th overall pick.

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During his time as a Blazer, the basketball star made the playoffs every season and played in two NBA finals. He also won the 1992-93 Sixth Man of the Year Award and competed in 461 games consecutively, which still stands as a franchise record.

Robinson then played for the Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, and New Jersey Nets before retiring in 2007 at the age of 41.

Cliff Robinson competed on ‘Survivor: Cagayan’

Five years later, the former NBA star appeared on the 28th season of CBS reality competition series, Survivor. Initially a part of the Brawn tribe, Robinson found himself in a great position early on as many of his tribemates liked him.

However, Sarah Lacina felt threatened by Robinson’s close ties with Woo Hwang and Lindsey Ogle. Therefore, she colluded with a few other tribemates to throw the upcoming immunity challenge so they could vote the former NBA star out of the game.

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Still, Robinson’s basketball skills and the other team’s poor performance propelled the Brawn tribe to victory, and they all made the swap. The majority of Robinson’s tribe stayed together in the swap, and he wanted to target former Beauty LJ McKanas.

But former Brawn member Trish bonded with LJ over their shared backgrounds, leaving eventual winner Tony Vlachos as the swing vote who chose to eliminate the likable basketball player.

Former ‘Survivor’ players and Jeff Probst honor Cliff Robinson

On August 29, 2020, several media outlets reported that Robinson passed away at 53. While the cause of death isn’t immediately apparent, sources believe it might be connected to a brain hemorrhage he suffered three years ago. He is survived by his wife Heather Lufkins and son Isaiah.

After news of Robinson’s passing spread, several former Survivor players honored their friend on social media. Hwang explained he watched the NBA star play growing up and was “psyched” to compete with Robinson when they ended up on the same tribe.

Additionally, he noted the two “shared good laughs and memories,” for which he’ll always “be grateful.” Lacina posted a couple of pictures of Robinson on the island and said she “feels honored to have met such a legend.”

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Cagayan star Alexis Maxwell also uploaded several behind the scenes pictures of her, Robinson, and a couple of cast members hanging out in Thailand. In her caption, she stated she feels “lucky” to have gotten to know the NBA star and sent her condolences to his family.

J’Tia Hart and Brice Izyah also honored their friend in social media posts.

Host Jeff Probst called Robinson competing on the show “a personal highlight for me” and noted the basketball player treated the cast and crew “with grace and respect.” The host also believes the NBA star is “one of the classiest people to ever play the game.” RIP.