Flynn Robinson, Scorer on Dominant N.B.A. Club, Dies at 72
Published: May 25, 2013
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The cause was multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells, said Kevin McKinney, a senior associate athletic director at the University of Wyoming, where Robinson starred in the 1960s.
When Robinson played for the Milwaukee Bucks, their broadcaster, Eddie Doucette, called him the Electric Eye. When he joined the Lakers, their broadcaster, Chick Hearn, called him Mr. Instant Point.
The 6-foot-1-inch Robinson was a reserve behind Jerry West and Gail Goodrich for the Laker team that won a league-record 33 consecutive games, went 69-13 in the regular season and then captured the franchise’s first league championship in Los Angeles, defeating the Knicks in a five-game final series.
Playing an average of 15.7 minutes a game in the regular season, Robinson averaged 9.9 points, complementing a starting lineup of Wilt Chamberlain at center, Jim McMillian and Happy Hairston at forward and the high-scoring backcourt of West and Goodrich.
Robinson tormented opponents with long-range jump shots even before they counted as 3-pointers.
“My maximum range was only about 25 feet, but people always thought I shot from farther out,” he told The Milwaukee Journal. “It looked that way because I had a higher arc on the ball than most other players.”
Before the Knicks met the Bucks in the 1970 playoffs, Knicks Coach Red Holzman said, “Robinson has great shooting range.” But Holzman added how “with his speed, you got to get up on him quickly or he’ll drive by you.”
Robinson played in his only All-Star Game in 1970, on his way to averaging a career-high 21.8 points a game for Milwaukee and leading the N.B.A. in free-throw percentage at 89.8 percent.
Flynn James Robinson was born on April 28, 1941, in Elgin, Ill. He averaged at least 25 points a game in his three seasons at Wyoming, then made his N.B.A. debut with the Cincinnati Royals in 1966.
He later played for the Chicago Bulls, the Bucks and the Royals (who got him back in a deal sending Oscar Robertson to Milwaukee) before being traded to the Lakers at the end of the 1970-71 season.
Robinson concluded his seven-season N.B.A. career with the Baltimore Bullets in 1973 and had a career scoring average of 14.5 points a game. He played one season after that in the American Basketball Association, with the San Diego Conquistadors, coached by Chamberlain.
He is survived by his wife, Nancy Pitts-Robinson, four brothers and two sisters.
Robinson, who had lived in Hawthorne, Calif., and most recently in Los Angeles, worked extensively with youngsters in recreational programs in the Los Angeles area.
For all the glory of that 33-game Laker winning streak, Robinson recalled a disappointing postscript. After the game, the Lakers’ owner, Jack Kent Cooke, gave each of the players a $5 pen set for their feat.
“Wilt had everybody put all the pens in the middle of the floor and stepped on them,” Robinson told The Orange County Register. “We were expecting a trip to Hawaii.”