Glenn Robinson felt the Mackey Arena crowd love -- again. Twenty years after he dominated college basketball as a Purdue Boilermaker, nothing had changed. “This is,” he said, “a special moment.” Robinson had many of them while wearing Old Gold and Black. On Thursday night, as the Boilers struggled against powerhouse Michigan State, he relived them. The Big Dog, retired from basketball for a decade, is still big. “Very rarely are you around greatness,” said Matt Painter, now the Purdue coach, then a teammate. “He was great. You would see something about once a week in practice that you hadn't seen before.” Flash back to the early 1990s, when Robinson was a 6-7 superstar. He didn't want attention from a too-bright limelight (“I had so many things coming at me that I just wanted to relax”), but his play demanded it. You don't get a Big Dog nickname by being average. “I have so many memories. From Matt Painter giving me one of the best alley oops of my career at the college level to beating Kansas in the NCAA Tournament to winning the Big Ten. “One big thing was the 49 points I put up against Illinois. The whole Mackey Arena crowd was chanting, 'One more year!” I felt special. I felt loved.” Robinson didn't stay that one more year -- becoming the NBA's No. 1 pick by the Milwaukee Bucks and signing a never-to-be-broken-rookie-contract of $68 million for 10 years (the next season a rookie salary cap was implemented) -- but he said his Boiler time made it possible. “If it wasn't for Purdue, I don't know where I would be, or what kind of NBA career I would have had.” Robinson arrived at Purdue good -- Indiana's Mr. Basketball after a McDonald's All-America high school career at Gary Roosevelt that included the 1991 state championship.
The 'Big Dog' still feeling the Purdue
Fort Wayne News-Sentinel | Feb 24