Thursday, August 9, 2007

James Hollywood Robinson

Dave over at threw an especially delicious question out to Blazer Fans today, asking for everyone's favorite cult player, "guys who never made the 50 Greatest Players of All Time roster and might not be remembered that much by people other than Blazer fans but who hold a special place in our hearts."

This is one of the all-time greatest questions for hardcore fans of any team, I know I have been drawn into the similar "favorite player nobody knows" discussion at a few sportsbars. I always have the same answer.

Being as I was at um, work, I couldn't find the time to make a worthy case for my candidate. I did keep checking back in the comments, waiting for somebody to mention James "Hollywood" Robinson. Props to user SloppyJoe for finally referencing the man, but I think Hollywood needs more than one line to do him justice.

The live action starts at about the 50 second mark, by the way. Somewhere, Kendall Gill is still wondering what happened.

I don't remember much of Hollywood, but my dad has been building the myth in my head for years. A 6'2, 180 pound shooting guard (don't believe just because he brought the ball down the floor sometimes he was a point) who played in the slow-down-beat-em-up mid-90's, the streaky scorer carved out 8 years in the NBA. For a guy born in Mississippi who played college ball at Alabama to come with such a nickname, you just knew there was something to see.

Portland drafted him 21st overall in the 1993 Draft. He never averaged double figures, but would come off the bench and give you something between 0 and 30. Or maybe more accurately, 0 or 30.You never knew with Hollywood. You knew you'd see the flair and the style that earned him his nickname, and if he got hot you'd see some scintillating basketball as well.

2001 was his last season in the League. For some odd reason, Wikipedia labels him a "bust." I'll try not to go on my rant about the rampant misuse of this label, but 6'2 shooting guards who are picked #21 in the draft and play 8 seasons in the League are definitely not deserving of it. For the love of God, you have to be a high pick and/or come with high-expectations to be a bust. There I went.

In 2004 he played with the now defunct Las Vegas Rattlers, and the rest is a little more mysterious. Sometime before and/or after that, Hollywood went overseas to play ball. Blurbs about his record label here and here mention him playing in Mother Russia. You can find his name briefly on some Russian basketball sites, but it looks like the place was too cold for Hollywood to stick around long. Sadly, there isn't much of a trail to follow.

While the internet may have forgotten, please remember the short explosive Southerner that came off the bench and made Rip City light up. Wherever you are Hollywood, thanks, and know that your myth continues to grow in sportsbars everywhere.


Anonymous said...

I do remember Hollywood but my all time favorites were Audie "the Atomic Dog" Norris and probably my all time favorite, Billy Ray Bates. What an athlete Billy Ray was, last I heard he was in the Phillipines playing hoops sveral years ago.

Shonn said...

"Hollywood" was special at Alabama. He would be seen dribbling the ball with a full blown bubble gum bubble out of his mouth. He once had that same type of bubble gum bubble blown while he shot and hit a 3 pointer! He was "hollywood" alright.

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