NBA returns with tribute to Chadwick Boseman, Clifford Robinson, Lute Olson

Jason Owens
·2 mins read

After a three-day hiatus, the NBA returned on Saturday to a world grappling with even more loss.

On Thursday, college basketball and Arizona coaching icon Lute Olson died at 85 years old. On Friday, acclaimed actor Chadwick Boseman died at 43 years old, a stunning loss to the film world and beyond.

Hours before Saturday’s tip between the Orlando Magic and Milwaukee Bucks, news broke that UConn great and popular 18-year NBA veteran Clifford Robinson died at 53 years old.

NBA pays tribute as it returns from strike

Before the Bucks and Magic took the floor, the NBA held a moment of silence to pay tribute to all three, who each made an impact on the basketball community.

The NBA paid tribute to Clifford Robinson, Lute Olson and Chadwick Boseman on Saturday. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The NBA paid tribute to Clifford Robinson, Lute Olson and Chadwick Boseman on Saturday. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Legacies left behind

Robinson played on Portland Trail Blazers teams that made it to two NBA Finals in the early 1990s, was a one-time All-Star and an NBA Sixth Man of the Year. He was affectionally known in the NBA community as “Uncle Cliffy.”

Boseman was an award-winning actor known for taking challenging roles portraying icons of the Black community like Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall and James Brown. His role as Black Panther broke new ground as the first featured Black character in the superhero movie genre and cemented his status as a cultural force.

Lute Olson coached Arizona to five Final Fours and the 1997 national championship. He was a mentor and a role model to many of his former players who went on to make their mark on the NBA, including Steve Kerr, Sean Elliott and Richard Jefferson.

The NBA took its hiatus after Bucks players initiated a player strike to raise awareness of police brutality in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Players agreed to resume the season after a series of tense discussions and assurances from the NBA to advance social justice causes.

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