Poor Big Doggie!!
Robinson late, most NBA players are no-shows
Aug. 15, 2005
By Tony Zezovski / Post-Tribune correspondent
GARY — It was a notable concept from a local guy gone big. But the delivery needs some work.
Glenn Robinson, fresh off a NBA title with the San Antonio Spurs, wanted to do something for his community that would bring focus to the children of Gary and ultimately promoting the concept of “Stay In School.”
In his rookie year in the NBA, Robinson, along with his agent Charlie Tucker, organized a similar event at the Genesis Center that featured about a dozen players from the league. On Sunday, Robinson once again was in his hometown — specifically in the high school gym where his life-size cutout hangs, commemorating the 1991 IHSAA state championship — to direct a charity game.
But the only difference this time around was that only two NBA players (Robinson and Linton Johnson III of the Spurs) showed up and neither hit the floor for the impatiently waiting crowd that was promised the likes of Ray Allen of the Seattle Supersonics, Bobby Simmons and T.J. Ford of the Milwaukee Bucks, Ricky Davis of the Boston Celtics and Therone Smith of the Charlotte Bobcats.
With the festivities scheduled to start at 2 p.m., players leisurely started to arrive a short time after but were not recognizable. Robinson nor his colleagues from the NBA where anywhere in sight until 3 p.m., when word quickly spread through out Bo Mallard Gymnasium that the “Big Dog” would only be seen in street clothes.
Being a free agent this year and looking for his next big contract, Robinson was not inclined to risk injury prior to signing on the dotted line with his next employer and opted out of the game.
Two hours after the scheduled start time, the crowd was introduced to a group of players nowhere near the caliber of NBA players.
Robinson coached the white uniformed team; Johnson coached the black uniformed team.
Fans of the AND1 tour might have noticed that “The Future” a slick, a silky smooth ball handler who’s featured on the ESPN series “Streetballers,” was on the floor.
Regardless, the game started at 4:05 and the disappointment of the fans was noticed immediately.
“It’s disappointing when you look forward to see an entertainer or ballplayer out there and they can’t make it for whatever reason,” said Robinson, who admitted that he has found himself on the reciprocal end before, too.
Robinson was gracious enough to shake as many hands and sign as many autographs as possible.
Even though things didn’t work out as planned, Robinson hopes that this year was just the start of an annual celebrity game in his hometown.
“Most definitely I want to do this next year,” said Robinson. “This is about keeping the kids in school and giving them something to do. Basically to have fun and that’s what its all about.”
“This is something I’m building on. This year is more or less is like getting the buzz out there and I’m creating something.”
Johnson was ecstatic that he was able to help out Robinson.
“I’m glad I could be here and be part of this,” said Johnson, who earlier in his career spent some time with the Bulls. “This is great for the kids and the community and I’m happy to be here. I would do anything for the 'Big Dog.’ ”
Johnson is also a free agent and looking for his new contract, which is the reason why he didn’t participate in the game as a player.
"Into Sean Elliott. He fires the three. AND HITS IT!"
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