SAN ANTONIO -- Let Pop tell it.
"I had him set up pretty good, I think. They were expecting a black hole. You know, somebody (who) as soon as he caught the ball, it was gone; never see it again. I said, 'I want you guys to make sure that you give him an opportunity to learn defense and all of that; but trust me, all he's going to do is shoot it every time he touches it. You're going to have to be very patient (with him).' We had him set up that way. He's smart. He came in and it might have taken him, you know, five minutes before he shot (the ball). He took a whole five minutes! In that five minutes, they saw him try to play D, so they accepted it."
He stood at the top of the key, releasing. One after another. While all of the other San Antonio Spurs were finding spots off the court to spend the next 30 minutes with the media, Glenn Robinson stayed on the court, working on a craft he almost perfected a long time ago.
He sticks out his hand. Gives a silent dap. Keeps his eyes on the rim.
"You still shootin' that thing?"
Gregg Popovich's system was not made for him. It's a system not made for anyone like him. Motion offense, transition defense, ball sharing, assigned roles. Of all of the teams in the NBA, this is the one least suited for his game. The Spurs don't have room for any more stars.
Glenn Big Dog Robinson? A non-scoring role player off the bench? Never happen. He'll never accept it. They'll never accept him.
Who knew, four months ago, that he'd be here, playing this role? Who knew, four months ago, that both Robinson and Robinson's team would be happy that his name is on the roster?
Who knew, four days ago, that he'd play in his first Finals game and score only two points, but grab three rebounds, block three shots in six minutes and have an impact on the game?
From superstar in Milwaukee to trying to fit in with AI and Jim O'Brien in Philly to being traded and waived by New Orleans in early March to being damn near out of the league to this. His journey has taken him from the All-Star Game only four years ago to 42 minutes on the bench and fighting Devin Brown for playing time. A career 20-points-per-game player averaging one point through the first two games of the Finals and accepting it.
This is not the Glenn Robinson we've grown to know, love or hate in the last 10 years. That Glenn Robinson would never play this role. He was too selfish for that.
That's what we thought.
Another shot leaves his hand and finds nylon. He won't get a chance to do this in the game, yet he leaves the court happy.
Maybe we didn't know Glenn Robinson at all.
He'd just had his best game with the Spurs when he found out. He scored 16 points in 14 minutes off the bench in the first game of the series against the Sonics. Finally, Big Dog got his groove back.
Then the news.
Moms. Lung cancer.
May she rest in peace.
It's impossible to understand what goes through someone when he loses his mother. Even those of us who have been through it don't really understand beyond the numbness. It's an emptiness. But one thing is constant: When it happens to you, you lose part of yourself.