Hoop Dreams: Ex-Harlem Globetrotter aims to train local players

HARLINGEN — Galen Robinson’s turnaround jump shot was unstoppable.

If a defender let him near the basket, he two-handed slam dunked.

Basketball aficionados in the Valley don’t remember Robinson, but Hakeem Olajuwon, Moses Malone and Clyde Drexler do.

“I had learned my post moves from Hakeem,” Robinson said, recalling their 1999 training sessions.

The former player lives in Harlingen now and plans to share his basketball knowledge and experience to young hoopsters in the Valley.

“I want to give these kids in the Valley something different,” Robinson said. “I want to help them make it to the next level.”

It’s not hard spot Robinson. He stands at 6-foot 8, and towers over most people.

His size helped him rule basketball arenas during college games at the University of Houston, with the Harlem Globetrotters and the international basketball teams he played for during his professional career.

The Houston native stretched from 5-foot 8 to 6-foot 8 in one year and by the time he was an eighth-grader the invitations to play basketball at Division-1 schools began to pour in.

“They called me ‘child’s play’ because I had one of the best pump fakes for a big man,” Robinson said that nickname coined by Rasheed Wallace, who played 16 seasons in the National Basketball Association. “It looked like I was going to shoot, and I would get people off their feet.”

His dream was to stay home in Houston and make it all the way to the NBA.

But the Rockets didn’t select him when they had the chance in the 1998 NBA Draft.

“I had a nice suit made for me and I was with Rashard Lewis, a Houston high school player drafted in the second round that year, but they never called my name at the draft.”

Had the Rockets chosen him instead of another 6 foot 8 inside player with the 18th pick, Robinson might have become an NBA World Champion.

Then there was the NBA Lockout and Olajuwon came calling for Robinson to help him train during the off season.

“I found out working with him what kind of basketball player I was,” Robinson said.

Robinson trained with some of the best basketball coaches and players the game of basketball has ever seen.

“He said ‘remain focused on what you’re doing, you’re trying to become a better basketball player and a better person,’” Robinson recalls Olajuwon telling him.

“I want to offer my basketball wisdom I have to players here in the Valley.”

Galen Robinson’s professional basketball career

1998 – Team Sony – Japan

1999 – Harlem Globetrotters Competitive Team

1999 – Cocodrilos de Caracas – Venezuela

1999 – 2000 – Ulker Europe League Team

2000 – Kinder – Italy

2002 – Los Paisas Medellin – Colombia

2002 – Union of Alexandria – Egypt

2004 – Ulbra Sports Team – Brazil

2005 – 2007 – Correcaminos de Reynosa UAT – Mexico

2007 – Pioneros de Quintana Roo – Cancun, Mexico

2008 – Kinder – Italy