David Robinson is living proof of the old adage that good things come to those who wait. Robinson was a star at the U.S. Naval Academy, earning All-American honors twice, and winning college basketball’s most prestigious honors, the Wooden and Naismith Awards, in his senior season – but waited two seasons before debuting in the NBA.
Robinson graduated from the Naval Academy in 1987 with a mathematics degree and was selected first overall in the 1987 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs; however, he honored a commitment to serve two years in the Navy before joining the Spurs in 1989. As one of the most gifted and versatile athletes, the former Navy Midshipman was the NBA Rookie of the Month all six months of the season, an All-Star at mid-year, and an easy choice for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award at season’s end.
During his rookie campaign, he averaged 24.3 points, 12.0 rebounds and 3.89 blocks, shooting .531 from the floor. He set Spurs rookie records in nearly every category, leading the team in scoring 46 times and in rebounding 61 times. One of only two Spurs to play in all 82 games, Robinson ranked 10th in the league in scoring, second in rebounding, and third in blocked shots, and was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team.
Within his first three seasons, Robinson established himself among the best in the league. His early achievements included All-NBA First Team selections in 1991 and 1992, an NBA All-Defensive First Team nod in 1991 and the 1992 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award. Robinson was also the first player in NBA history to rank among the top five in rebounding, blocks and steals in a single season. His excellence earned him a second consecutive All-NBA First Team selection and a third-straight trip to the NBA All-Star Game. Additionally, he won an Olympic Gold Medal with the NBA Dream Team at the Barcelona Games that year.
After winning the 1995 NBA MVP award and being named one of the 50 greatest players of all time, Robinson had accomplished all that he could as an individual, but he longed to earn basketball’s ultimate team honor – an NBA Championship. This finally came in 1999 when he teamed up with future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan to earn the trophy. The pair would repeat this feat in Robinson’s final season in 2003.
Over the course of Robinson’s incredibly decorated career he was a two-time NBA champion, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, ten-time NBA All Star, NBA Sportsmanship Award recipient, ten-time All-NBA honoree, eight-time All-Defensive team honoree, and named to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary 50 Greatest Players list. In 2009, his accomplishments were recognized as he was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame during his first year of eligibility.
Robinson’s basketball skills may only be surpassed by his charitable nature. He established the David Robinson Foundation in 1991 and has since donated more than $9 Million to the Carver Academy in San Antonio. He is also an active participant in Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood of Achievers Program and many other charities. His charitable work is so well recognized that the NBA decided to rename its award for outstanding charitable efforts to honor Robinson, now awarding the David Robinson Plaque to the most charitably inclined NBA player. Robinson was also named Reader’s Digest Star Who Makes Kids Shine and honored with The Sporting News Good Guy In Pro Sports Award.
In addition, Robinson was honored as Sports Illustrated’s Ambassador of Sports for their 50th Anniversary Celebration and recipient of the 1999 Montblanc de la Culture Award (the first athlete and youngest recipient in the award’s history). Inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame, Robinson also received a Patriot Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society in September 2000.
Robinson and his wife Valerie reside in San Antonio, Texas.
Basketball Hall of Famer and NBA Legend
David Robinson is living proof of the old adage that good things come to those who wait. Robinson was a star at the U.S. Naval Academy, earning All-American honors twice, and winning college basketball’s m...