From the SI Archives: Alvin Robertson

from mysanantonio.comIn what is truly one of the most glorious developments in the history of time wasting, Sports Illustrated recently opened up the vault and put its entire magazine archives - as in all of it - on its website. For free.

It's an amazing thing, but can be extremely dangerous to anyone with even the slightest tendency towards procrastination. So, as part of our ongoing effort to provide a public service to our loyal readers, we have unleashed our team of hardworking and underpaid Razorback Expats interns on the site to bring you the very best bits of this massive treasure trove. While they slowly go insane due to the enormity of it all, you can just sit back and enjoy the fun.

Today's focus is on one of the greatest Hog basketballers: Alvin Robertson. It's sometimes forgotten just how damn good Alvin was, both at Arkansas and in the pros (towards the end of his career, Michael Jordan singled him out as one of the toughest defenders he'd ever faced), so these articles are a nice nostalgic refresher.

November 28, 1983: Season Preview - #13 Arkansas

This article, from a classic SI issue featuring Jordan and Sam Perkins from #1 North Carolina on the cover (incidentally, that team would remain undefeated until a certain fateful day in Pine Bluff) describes Alvin as the best guard in the SWC, but my favorite bits are the descriptions of the rest of the team. You have the "husky" Joe Kleine, references to Ricky Norton and Willie Cutts as being potential replacements for Darrell Walker, and a quote from Eddie Sutton saying that Keenan DuBose "has a chance to be as good as Moncrief". Whoops.

July 23, 1984: "Hooray for the Red, White, Black and Blue!"

In this article about the 1984 Olympic basketball team - almost certainly the best amateur team ever assembled - Alvin gets a nice shout-out as the team's most consistent player. During the pre-Olympic warm-up games he led the team in rebounds and steals, was second in assists and minutes played, and was fourth in scoring. Not too shabby.

April 21, 1986: "Spur of the Moment - Alvin Robertson is pro basketball's new Man of Steal"

Alvin gets the full feature treatment in this highly complimentary article (I don't remember ever reading it before now, which is odd given that it came out during the peak years of me scouring the pages of SI for signs that the Razorbacks were being disrespected). Written during the high point of his NBA career - he had just been voted to the All-Star starting lineup in just his second year as a pro - it focuses on him stepping up to be "the Man" in San Antonio in place of the recently traded George Gervin. It also spends some time talking about what a model citizen and good community member he was, which is both sad and ironic given his numerous later legal troubles. Bonus: the description of Alvin bonding with Patrick Ewing over their shared love of reggae while on the 1984 Olympic team.

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