Glenn 'Big Dog' Robinson: Definitely Not a Bust, but a Disappointment

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Glenn 'Big Dog' Robinson: Definitely Not a Bust, but a Disappointment

I watched a lot of college basketball in the '90s, especially the Big Ten. 

During the decade, superstars who played in the conference included Michigan's Chris Webber and Jalen Rose, Indiana's Calbert Cheaney and Michigan State's Shawn Respert.

But you can't speak about Big Ten hoops of the '90s without mentioning a guy by the name of Glenn Robinson.   

Nicknamed the "Big Dog", Robinson produced a monster season for Purdue during the 1993-94 season, averaging 30.3 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. For his efforts, he was recognized as the nation's top player as he received both the Naismith and Wooden awards.  

Robinson also led the Boilermakers to the Big Ten title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight, where they fell to Grant Hill's Duke Blue Devils.   

Robinson's superstardom wasn't supposed to end in college though. He was expected to go on to become the NBA's "Next Big Thing."

As expected, the Milwaukee Bucks would make the 6'7" junior forward the top pick in the 1994 NBA Draft, right in front of Jason Kidd (Dallas Mavericks) and Hill (Detroit Pistons).  

But before he logged a single minute in an NBA game, Robinson became involved in a contract dispute with Bucks' management. Rumor has it that he demanded a ridiculous 13-year, $100 million deal.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Robinson was simply unstoppable his final year at Purdue.

He eventually received a still ridiculous $68 million over 10 years, which remains the most massive rookie contract in league history.

Robinson would turn in a strong debut season for Milwaukee, leading all rookies in scoring with 21.9 ppg. However, he failed to win Rookie of the Year as Kidd and Hill shared the award.

Robinson was later selected to the 1996 U.S. Olympic basketball team which included big names like Shaquille O'Neal, Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon and Karl Malone.

Unfortunately though, Robinson never got to play for the team due to injury and was replaced by Gary Payton.

Helping transform the Bucks into a playoff ball club, Robinson was named an All-Star in both 2000 and 2001. 

Also in 2001, he teamed with Ray Allen and Sam Cassell to lead the Bucks to the Eastern Conference Finals where they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in seven games.   

The following year, Robinson was traded to the Atlanta Hawks in a deal involving former Chicago Bulls sixth man Toni Kukoc. During the 2002-03 season, Robinson averaged 20.8 ppg for the Hawks and shot a career-high 87.6 percent from the charity stripe.

After just one season in the ATL, he was shipped to Philadelphia to assist All-Star guard Allen Iverson with the scoring load. Robinson's scoring numbers would decrease in Philly and he was sadly bitten hard by the injury bug.   

Robinson later signed with the title-contending San Antonio Spurs in April 2005. And two months later, he won the first and only NBA championship of his career after averaging just 3.8 ppg in the postseason.

That would end up being Robinson's final year in the league. He averaged 20.7 ppg over his 11-year career.

A player with a 20 ppg career scoring average, two All-Star appearances and a Olympic team selection can't be labeled a bust.

However, I thought that he would go on to have a much, much better pro career. 

Seeing Robinson dominate in college, I figured he would become one of the most dangerous scoring machines that the NBA has ever seen.   

I truly believed that he would emerge as a perennial All-Star, who would consistently lead the league in scoring.

Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson may not have had an unforgettable NBA career, but his days as a college superstar should never be forgotten.   

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