glenn robinson

Originally published in SLAM 10

Every season it’s the same. Bad teams wanna get good, and good teams wanna get better. The best clubs? They wanna stay on top.

Young pups like Milwaukee’s Big Dawg Robinson are looking to serve notice to their NBA elders. They’re ready to send a message that the new school is in session, and it’s time for seniors like New York’s Patrick Ewing to think about graduating—like it or not.

In November of ’95, Big Dawg left his tracks all over Mr. Ewing. The Riley-less Knicks had moved their show Off-Broadway and on to Milwaukee for the Bucks’ home opener. The Brewtown faithful had packed the house to see their boys Baker, Robinson and Respert remind New York that the Knicks’ shot at glory had long passed them by. Though Nellie’s club eventually triumphed, 84-71, Big Dawg gave the hometown crowd something to remember with pride.

It was midway through the third quarter, and Robinson was away from his low post position. He ventured slowly out onto the right wing, looking for something to develop. Charles Oakley allowed him the distance under a watchful eye. Robinson got the ball 10 feet out, faced the basket and stared down Oak. It all happened so fast—a jab to the left, and Charles was reeling. Big Dawg said, “See ya,” and went baseline in a blink. A monster jam was at hand.

As Robinson approached for take off, Patrick Ewing came over from the weak side to bail out Oakley; he challenged Dawg mid flight. [Ed’s note to Chi-Town’s Tracy Jackson: Ewing gets dunked on ‘cause he’s a good defender and always helps out his teammates. Sorry.] You could almost hear the words, “Uh-uh. Not tonight, old man.” It seemed like the All-Star 7-footer wasn’t even there. Robinson went up, cocked his arm and threw down a house-rocking jam.

Patrick Ewing watched it go down. Derek Harper shook his head in disbelief as he peeped the rim-hangin’ dunk from the free throw line. And Oak ran back to his basket with his head down.

The Dawg got some pounds from his mates as he ran up the court, and the rabid fans went Buck wild.

—Bill Ebner