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Remembering Flynn Robinson

May 25, 2013

Sadly, Flynn Robinson, a key reserve player on the glorious 1971-1972 NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers has died at the age of 72.

Roughly a year ago I noted that another key reserve player on that great team, Leroy Ellis, had died. Now Flynn Robinson, who was a big offensive spark and really played well in the pivotal fifth game vs the Milwaukee Bucks in the semi-final round, has died.

I saw the news of Flynn’s death and the nice words of Lakers’ executive Jeanie Buss, while watching a replay of sorts (so much was omitted in the condensed version) of game 1 of the Miami Heat vs Indiana Pacers semi-final series.

What struck me at the time was recalling what Flynn Robinson once said regarding the Chicago Bulls about to break the ’71-’72 Lakers (69-13) record.

Paraphrasing, he said they may break the season record but no one will ever break our 33 game win streak. Never is a long time and this year’s Miami Heat came close with 27 straight wins. Now in one day, news that Flynn Robinson is gone, and then the Indiana Pacers got even vs the Heat.

The Heat will be discussed another time and I still think they will win, but going down (2-1), as was the case last year, is not advisable because the Pacers are a true threat this time.

The ’71-’72 Lakers twice lost their playoff series opener and in their biggest test were tied two games apiece vs the Milwaukee Bucks. That Milwaukee  team included Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Oscar Robertson and Bob Dandridge. In the pivotal fifth game, Flynn Robinson played great and the Lakers won the series in six and eventually the title in a five game final.

It remains a great memory. Flynn Robinson is the fourth player from that great Lakers’ team to die and I hope it is a long time before they have enough for a “basketball team” up there.

Time goes on, death is inevitable, and accomplishment remains something one strives for while on earth. That team accomplished so much.

Wilt Chamberlain, Harold “Happy” Hairston, the aforementioned Leroy Ellis (see June 4, 2012 post here) and now Flynn Robinson, all members of that great Lakers’ team are deceased.

Oh, Flynn, tell Wilt he could still play great if he was in the NBA today, especially with Happy Hairston helping on the boards.

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