Glenn Robinson’s rookie mistake – outscoring Michael Jordan in their first matchup
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Glenn Robinson’s rookie mistake – outscoring Michael Jordan in their first matchup

When talking about some of the forgotten ballers of the ’90s, one of the names you have to mention is Glenn Robinson. “Big Dog” came into the NBA with style, as the first pick of the 1994 Draft and to this day the record holder for the largest rookie contract ever (10 years, 68$ million). The salary cap for rookies was introduced the following year. Robinson was an offensive machine from the start, with his 6’7”-225 lbs frame and sweet-shooting touch presenting problems from defenses from the jump. If you want a modern-day comparison, Carmelo Anthony, in his prime, would be a good example.

Robinson averaged 21.9 ppg in his rookie season and showed he has no fear of NBA superstars. After all, this was a great era of NBA basketball with the likes of Hakeem, Pippen, Ewing, Shaq, Charles, Robinson, and more running the league. But that year, the face of the basketball, Michael Jordan, decided to make his return near the end of the season, as “Big Dog” finally got the chance to play against the best.

Robinson appeared on the “Knuckleheads” podcast and talked about various interesting topics from his career. One of the best bits was him describing going against the infamous Bulls teams of the ’90s or, to be more particular, Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan. Robinson talked about playing MJ for the first time, fresh out of his retirement and getting the better of him.

“We played them the very last regular game of the season. But at the time, I have seen all the superstars…plus, Jordan had number 45, so he looked a little different….I felt like I saw everybody, so I was like I’m finna bust their a–. I played well, actually I had 36 that game, and Mike had 33… At one point, MJ fouled the s–t out of me; he fouled me hard and then went to help me up. It was an article in the paper; I’m looking up like thank you, Michael, MJ’s picking me up, I got his attention.”

Glenn Robinson, Knuckleheads

But as always, the story has two parts, as MJ took that personally just like everything in his career and made “Big Dog” pay for it the following season:

“There was a big article in the paper. Big Dog, the rookie, he outscored Mike, this and that. Fellas, it was like he read that s–t. Man, the next season…he averaged about 45,46 against us.”

Glenn Robinson, Knuckleheads

“Big Dog” would share his praises for MJ, as he acknowledged that JOrdancame basically off the street onto the court without a training camp behind him or any real preparation in their first meeting. But the following season, MJ had number 23 on his back and everything back in place, as that was the return of the Jordan everybody knew. MJ didn’t forget to give Robinson and the Bucks a reminder. 

As far as Glenn Robinson’s career goes, he would spend 8 seasons in Milwaukee as a 20-point per game scorer, becoming a franchise legend even though he never managed to go all the way with the Bucks. “Big Dog” would eventually bounce around a few teams and finish his career with a championship as a veteran piece of the San Antonio Spurs in 2005. A well-deserving end to a great career that was cut short due to the nagging knee injuries.