He was a shy righty from Gary, Indiana who shot like a lefty and showed up with high socks and the number 13 and sometimes he was sort of perfect.
Glenn Robinson pulled up from 37 feet and swished threes at Purdue. This never really happened, probably, but don’t tell seven year-old me that. My older brother told me that, or something like that, and it stayed with me like things stay with you at seven. Because everything is vivid and real at that age. The other night, there was this kid at the game, maybe seven, who jumped a hundred times up and down and never five inches off the ground. But then he caught a t-shirt, and in his mind Caron Butler probably made all the threes just because he was there.
So maybe the first overall draft pick in 1994 didn’t make every single three-pointer in his eight years with the Bucks. And maybe he didn’t pull up from 37 feet and swish threes. Maybe the Bucks didn’t quite make the Finals with Big Dog.
Nevertheless. He burned a bright green when he burned, he provided a burst of sweet hope after those down early 1990s years, and along with some friends he almost brought the Finals to Milwaukee. He gave the city a feeling from the start, a feeling that you can only really feel when your team gets the number one draft pick in a top shelf draft class.
Robinson, in 1994:
"I'm just regular, just like y'all… I'm a normal person. But if I go out to the mall, people stare at me. If I walk past someone, I'll look out the corner of my eye and I'll see them all turn around. Little kids follow me sometimes, but there's nothing wrong with that."
Just a regular. But if you were the right age, Glenn Alann Robinson was probably your favorite, even if most of the time he wasn’t even perfect.
Here are 13 numbers among many. Thanks, Glenn.
21,262. Third most minutes in franchise history. That translates to more than 354 hours, or more than 14 full days.
1994-95. Yes, Grant Hill and Jason Kidd shared Rookie of the Year honors, but Robinson was quite good as a rookie as well. Some perspective: The last rookie to top his 21.9 points average was Kevin Durant back in 2007. He averaged 6.2 free throw attempts per game. He even had a better PER than Kidd, though the stat didn’t exist at the time.
13. He became the second player in franchise history to wear jersey #13. Coincidentally, the only Bucks player to wear the number before him was Glenn McDonald – the only other “Glenn” (first name) in Bucks history.
20.7. He averaged more points per game in his career – 20.7 – than anyone in that 1994 draft class. And it wasn’t so close, with Grant Hill (16.7) finishing second. Robinson also ranks second all-time on the franchise points per game list, behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabaar (30.4).
2. Also: Despite what most remember as a relatively short playing career, Robinson ranks second in franchise history in points scored (12,010), again trailing only Kareem (14,211).
1996. Just 23 at the time, Robinson was selected as part of the 1996 U.S. Olympic team, but withdrew from the squad because of an Achilles tendon injury. He was replaced by Gary Payton. That team was one of the best ever.
0.0001. A lot of people have said things about the 1998-99 season, but don’t get me started on people. The lockout meant a 50-game regular season. The Knicks averaged 79.8 points in a five-game NBA Finals loss to the Spurs. Michael Jordan had just retired. Yes. But: If you saw Vince Carter and Jason Williams as rookies, you will never forget them as rookies. And most importantly, someone voted Glenn Robinson fifth on an MVP ballot, earning him a 0.0001 share.
68,000,000. As a rookie, he signed a (still standing) rookie record 10-year, $68 million contract. They changed the salary cap rules the next season.
3,519. Only five Bucks in franchise history ever pulled down more rebounds than Robinson’s 3,519 career boards.
28.1. Big Dog sports the highest Usage Percentage in franchise history at 28.1, checking in just ahead of Michael Redd and Terry Cummings. For reference, this stat is an estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while he was on the floor. He worked with the ball a lot.
45. Next week marks the 13-year anniversary of Robinson’s highest-scoring game, in this 122-95 win against the Warriors. Somewhat convenient.
23.4. Here are the only players to score more points per game than Robinson in 1997-98: Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Karl Malone.
5/20/2001. Game 7. Just watched this clip six times. This is what basketball in Milwaukee can be.