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|Draft:||1975 (1st Rd.)|
|Drafted By:||Kansas City Kings|
Bill Robinzine (born January 20, 1953 in Chicago, Illinois) was obtained by the Mavs in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Dallas obtained Robinzine along with Cleveland's 1986 first round draft choice and Atlanta's 1983 first round draft choice (which belonged to the Cavs) for forwards Jerome Whitehead and Richard Washington.
Robinzine did not play high school basketball electing to be in the school band instead. His father, who was the first African-American to play for DePaul in 1955 and who later went on to play three seasons for the NBA's Detroit Pistons, encouraged his son to come out for recreational games.
Displaying a natural talent on the court, young Robinzine impressed DePaul coach Ray Meyer and, upon graduation, joined the freshman team before becoming a starter with the varsity squad his sophomore season.
"He made the most of his talent," Coach Meyer told the New York Times. "He loved the physical game. When he went for a rebound he didn't see anything but the ball."
Lettering in all four of his college years, Robinzine led DePaul in rebounding his final three seasons. In 1975 he was MVP of the Pizza Hut Classic and was invited to play in the Aloha All-Star Classic that same year. He still ranks fourth all-time at DePaul for career rebounding average with 11.4 rebounds per game.
He was selected in the first round of the 1975 NBA draft by Kansas City and played five seasons with the Kings. Playing all 82 games in both the 1977-1978 and 1978-1979 seasons, Robinzine was known as a very physical player and had the dubious distinction of finishing fourth in the league in fouls with 367 in the 78-79 campaign.
That season also brought one of the most remembered moments of Robinzine's career.
In November of 1979 while the Kings were playing the Philadelphia 76ers, Robinzine became famous as the victim of one of Sixers' center Daryl Dawkins' most vicious glass-shattering dunks. Robinzine, guarding Dawkins at the time, can be seen in the highlight running away, covering his head as glass shards fly out and cover the court. Dawkins, known for naming his dunks, even included Robinzine's name in the long, long title he gave that particular play.
The Kings traded Robinzine to Cleveland after the 1979-1980 season and, after appearing in only eight games for the Cavaliers, he was traded again this time to Dallas.
Robinzine brought a physical presence to the Mavs' lineup and at the end of the season had the most rebounds in a game that year, pulling down 18 boards in a game against Washington on January 10, 1981.
Just over a month later, on February 22, 1981, he scored his 5,000th NBA career point in a Mavericks 132-109 victory over New Jersey.
Used as nothing more than a spare part with the Jazz, Robinzine appeared in only 56 games and saw his numbers drop to only 5.8 ppg and 2.6 rpg.
Utah released Robinzine after the 1981-1982 season and, while he used the offseason to work himself into top physical condition, he had no other NBA offers.
Friends thought he was mulling an offer to play overseas in Italy when, on September 15, 1982, Robinzine committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. He was only 29 years old at the time of his death.