Suns News

Morris, Robinson Connection Exceeds Basketball

The Morris brothers have been there for Thomas Robinson (center) through trying times.
(NBAE/Getty Images)
By Aaron Seidlitz, Suns.com
Posted: July 19, 2012

Basketball brought Markieff Morris and his twin brother Marcus into Thomas Robinson’s life. But the sport isn’t the reason why this trio now consider themselves brothers, rather than just friends or former teammates.

When they first met at the University of Kansas – a well-known collegiate powerhouse in basketball – it was all about the game. Similarly built, and sculpted in the mold of successful power forwards, each player was highly regarded when entering the Jayhawk program.

It’s obvious to see why, as they all became lottery picks in the NBA draft over the last two years.

Markieff, of course, was drafted 13th overall in 2011 by the Phoenix Suns. Marcus went one pick later to the Houston Rockets during the same draft. Then this past April, Robinson was the fifth selection by the Sacramento Kings.

Shortly after arriving in Lawrence, each saw the talent and potential in the other and a friendship was formed.

Then it was tested.

Beginning in a few short weeks, stretching from the end of December to the early portion of January, Robinson first lost his grandmother, grandfather and then his 37-year-old mother.

Their deaths left Robinson behind with a 9-year-old sister, and into that s sizeable void stepped Markieff, Marcus and their mother, Angel.

During a game at Kansas’ Allen Fieldhouse, a moment of silence was requested for Robinson’s family members. Marcus broke down and cried during it.

Angel made a promise to Robinson’s mother, Lisa, that she would be the one to take care of her son.

Through it all, there has been one thing more than any other that the current King has appreciated about Markieff.

“He’s kept the loyalty for as long as I’ve known him,” Robinson said.

Despite the tremendous loss in his family, Robinson has found a way to continue to progress in the game of basketball.

The one thing that went according to the plan drawn up by Robinson and Markieff while at Kansas was how the two would reach the next level of basketball.

“We were just messing with each other a couple days ago,” Robinson said. “We were sitting around remembering what we said during my freshman year, and we were saying then that he would leave after his junior year and I would leave the year after.

“It happened just like that, so it’s just crazy.”

While the Morris brothers were absent from Kansas last season, Robinson built himself into one the country’s best collegiate players. He even led the Jayhawks to a national championship game appearance.

On the back of that strong 2011-12 season, Robinson went to New Jersey with high hopes for the draft, but he still needed a support group.

Not surprisingly, Markieff and Marcus were in attendance. Angel was in the green room and with Robinson the entire time.

The magnitude of the moment was not lost on the youngest one of the three. He also found it to be just right that the Morris family was there with him

“They were with me through everything,” Robinson said. ”They’ve watched my success and my failures. They’ve watched everything, so for them to be there on one of the biggest days of my life that was really good.”

Fast forward to the present day, and all three players have now had their lives intersect again – this time for the 2012 NBA Las Vegas Summer League.

Sometimes the basketball world can be very small.

Markieff is here for Phoenix building upon an impressive rookie season; Marcus is attempting to find a regular role with Houston; and Robinson is making his first impression upon the Kings organization.

Despite playing for three different teams, Markieff said that the trio remains as close as ever in Las Vegas.

The bond between the twin brothers is obvious. Marcus has watched Markieff’s games, and the two have often worked out together during the offseason.

A connection between twins can be something powerful. Robinson, however, has become equally close to both brothers.

“Oh yeah, I see him every day, every single day,” Markieff said. ”After every game, we get together to talk about the game and just chill. That’s my little brother.”

The Suns forward can’t believe how far each of the players has come in their careers. They all have now reached the pinnacle and dreams have been achieved.

They continue to work to make the most of their career, but they also appreciate where they are at currently. One thing that stands out to Markieff is how quickly it all has gone by.

“At the time it doesn’t go that fast, but now when you’re looking back it went super-fast,” he said. “Right now it’s hard to believe I’m in my second year in the league. I can remember when I was a freshman at Kansas. It’s flown by.”