View Full Version : Indy Star: What in the world has happened to Glenn 'Big Dog' Robinson?

04-01-2006, 10:07 PM
Evidently, the Big Dog has decided to join Latrell in a puzzling state of reclusive, pseuso-retirement, and I kind of wonder whether this is one of the guys that Marc Stein just claimed the braintrust tried to recruit over the last few weeks...

Purdue star Robinson MIA
Top player of Keady years missed salute to coach, isn't expected to play again in the NBA

By Michael Pointer

Scores of Purdue players returned to honor Gene Keady last season during the coach's 25th and final year at the school.

Tops in college: The career of Glenn Robinson (seen practicing as a junior in 1994) seems to have gone askew since his Purdue glory days. Friends say he wants to be in the record industry. - Associated Press

But the greatest Purdue player of that era was nowhere to be seen. Glenn Robinson's name only came up when Keady or school officials were asked about his whereabouts.
Few could offer details.

"I'm not sure Glenn keeps in touch with anybody," said former Purdue assistant coach Frank Kendrick, who was the Boilermakers' lead recruiter of Robinson coming out of Gary Roosevelt High School.

Robinson, 33, hasn't played since earning an NBA championship ring as a reserve forward with the San Antonio Spurs last June. He has not announced his retirement, but he isn't expected to play again.

He lives in Atlanta, where he once played with the Hawks, and friends say he is trying to break into the recording industry as a producer or executive. Calls to his cell phone were met with a message saying, "Sorry, that mailbox is full."

His mysterious absence from Keady's farewell season has added to the impression he has had a rocky post-Purdue career, during which Robinson gradually pulled away from the school at which he became a legend.

"I don't know what is going on in his life," Kendrick said. "The last message I gave him is, 'You know where I'm at. I'm not going to mess your life. If you need me, call me.' "
Kendrick and others are quick to defend Robinson, saying he likely had plenty on his mind last year. His career was winding down. His mother, Christine Bridgeman, was battling cancer; she died in May.

"She was my tower of strength," Robinson told the Times of Northwest Indiana last July. "It's like we grew up together.

"My mom was 15 when she had me. I could honestly talk to my mother about anything -- basketball, girls, life on the street. She'd been there."
Keady attended Bridgeman's funeral but said he only talked to Robinson briefly. They haven't spoken since.

"I didn't even think about it," Keady said of Robinson's absence last season. "We always had a good relationship. If we would have had a fight or something, I would have understood. But I never had a problem with Glenn. Ever."

Dynamic duo

In many ways, the fiery Keady and Robinson formed an ideal-coach player duo, Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke said.

"He was just a tremendous competitor," Burke said. "He was one of those guys that if Gene put a bite on him, it didn't bother him. He just competed harder."

Robinson failed to meet NCAA freshman eligibility requirements during his first year at Purdue. He often heard chants of "Prop 48'' when he entered opposing arenas.
"That puts a stigma on you,'' said Burke, who hopes Robinson will return to Purdue and earn his degree. "But he did very well (academically) at Purdue. Not a lot of people know that.''
Kendrick said Robinson used those taunts as motivation. He remembers one night during the 1993-94 season -- when Robinson won national Player of the Year honors -- at Northwestern, when Kendrick said he told some students they might want to pipe down because it would only set off Robinson.

Robinson promptly scored 34 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and hit a fadeaway 10-foot jumper with eight seconds left to give Purdue a 68-67 victory.

"When you're a very good player, and you know you're that good, rarely does it help you," said current Purdue coach Matt Painter, who was Robinson's teammate for one season. "He was a very good player and he knew it and it helped him. It gave him that edge."

Out of the public eye

As brilliant as he was on the court, Robinson didn't like the spotlight that came with it.
"He was a quiet guy who didn't feel comfortable in a public situation," said former Purdue sports information director Jim Vruggink, who now is director of special projects in Purdue's university relations department. "He was a guy that just went out and played. That doesn't make him a bad guy."

Dealing with reporters, however, was much more difficult than fighting off a double-team.
"He would be there,'' Vruggink said of postgame interviews. "But it was kind of like, 'If I have to, I will do that.' And the media kind of recognized that. They knew they weren't going to get a lot of great quotes out of Glenn."

Robinson left Purdue after his junior season in '94 and was the first overall pick by the Milwaukee Bucks. The team revealed Robinson and agent Charles Tucker were asking for a $100 million contract.

The two sides eventually agreed on a 10-year, $68.1 million deal, but only after Robinson missed training camp.

He was arrested in 2002 after a domestic dispute with his ex-fiancée. He expressed his displeasure with not being traded by the Philadelphia 76ers before the 2004-05 season, and then missed most of that season with knee and ankle injuries.
He was traded to New Orleans, was cut, then signed with the Spurs. San Antonio chose not to re-sign him after the season.

"When he got to the NBA, that was a totally different world,'' Kendrick said. "Some of things that happened to him, I (or anyone at Purdue) don't know much about.''
Robinson may finally return to campus soon. He is scheduled to come back to Purdue on April 21, when he is inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame.

Burke has been assured by Robinson's business representatives that he will attend.
"I think he'll have a good time,'' Burke said. "When they haven't been here for a while, at least I've found with other (Hall of Fame) classes we've had, it's kind of a big moment for them."

04-02-2006, 11:39 AM

Glenn Robinson and Latrell Sprewell...two shining examples of what it means to be a professional athlete. The NBA is truly poorer through their absence.

And whatever happened to Keon Clark? I recall he just went AWOL one year.