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Ben Wallace Discusses Cliff Robinson’s Legacy

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The Athletic catalogs Wallace’s thoughts on Uncle Cliffy’s time with the Detroit Pistons.

1997 NBA Playoffs - Round One Game Two: Los Angeles Lakers v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Rip City recently mourned the loss of one of the greats, Cliff Robinson, who passed away from lymphoma at 53. Robinson’s career after the Portland Trail Blazers took him to the Phoenix Suns, and then on to the Detroit Pistons, where he played alongside defensive great Ben Wallace. In an interview with the Athletic’s James L. Edwards III, Wallace outlines what Robinson brought to the Pistons.

“He was one of the keys to putting us on a path to winning a title. He brought a championship mindset,” Wallace told The Athletic. “When he was in Portland, they lost to the ‘Bad Boys’ and Bulls in the Finals, and we looked at him and drew from his experiences. He was an all-around leader. He was one of those guys you love to have on your team, in your locker room, one of those guys to sit and have a meal with. He was never going to change. That winning attitude, work ethic and drive rubbed off on the entire team. He really put us on our championship path.”

Wallace says that playing with Robinson helped him unlock his potential.

“He freed me up to become the player I became known as,” Wallace said. “The fact that he could guard the 4 or 5 or 3, it allowed me to roam around and do what I was best at doing. For me, he was one of those guys who playing beside allowed my game to continue to grow and flourish.”

You can read more on Robinson’s role with the Pistons here.