Not many people would recognize him by name, but Leonard “Truck” Robinson was likely the best basketball prospect ever to be born and raised here in Jacksonville.
Robinson was born here in 1951 and went to William M. Raines High School in Northwest Jax.
Raines, an all-black school at the time during the waning days of segregation, was and still is known for its strong athletics department. The school has had several future professional athletes pass through its halls, including NFL hall-of-famer Brian Dawkins.
Robinson parlayed success at Raines into a scholarship at Tennessee State University, where he played four years from 1970 to 1974 and averaged 25.7 points and 17.6 rebounds.
He was drafted in the second round of the 1974 NBA Draft by the Washington Bullets. Robinson would play on the Bullets, Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Jazz, Phoenix Suns, and New York Knicks during his thirteen-year career spanning from 1974 to 1985.
Robinson’s crowning achievements were being named an NBA All-Star in 1978 and 1981 as well as being a member of the 1978 All-NBA First Team.
During that breakout 1978 season, Robinson averaged 22.7 points and a league-leading 15.7 rebounds, while playing a league-leading 44.4 minutes per game.
Robinson scored 11,988 points and pulled in 7,267 rebounds during his thirteen seasons in the NBA. His rebounding total still puts him among the top 100 in NBA history.
Since retiring, Robinson has gotten into coaching, most recently serving as an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings a few seasons ago.
Though Robinson was never recognized by the NBA Hall of Fame, he was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.
And while the city has since had other homegrown players make it to the NBA, such as Otis Smith, Dee Brown, and Grayson Allen, for now Robinson still stands out as the best to come from the Bold City.