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NBA 75 Series: #26 David Robinson

At #26 on my NBA 75 Greatest Players of All Time is a physical specimen, who was a force on both ends of the court, and was as unique of a big man you’ll ever find, David Robinson. Robinson was born on August 6th, 1965, in Key West, Florida, to his parents Ambrose and Freda Robinson. Robinson would get his Navy roots from his father, who was in the U.S. Navy, which caused the family to move frequently.

He would attend Osbourn Park High School in Manassas, Virginia, where he was 5-foot-9 as a junior in high school. However, a growth spurt would dramatically change Robinson’s prospects as a basketball player, now standing at 6-foot-6 as a senior, but still hadn’t played any organized basketball for school, or any basketball camps. Despite his lack of skill at the time, Robinson’s high school coach still added him to the team, and he sure didn’t regret the decision, as Robinson would be named all-area, and all-district.

Somehow though, he still didn’t attract the attention of college basketball’s biggest programs. Robinson would go on to attend the Naval Academy, where he would major in mathematics, while also playing for the basketball team. While at the Academy the height restriction was 6-foot-6, and the moment Robinson came onto the scene he was a shade over that, standing at 6-foot-7.

He would continue to grow though, standing 7’1 his sophomore year which would help him become a dominant collegiate player where he would be named a consensus All-American twice (1986, 1987), three-time CAA Player of the Year (1985-1987), three-time first team All-CAA, and the National Player of the Year in 1987.

In 1986, Robinson would lead the Academy as a number seven seed to the NCAA Tournament where they were one game shy of reaching the Final Four, losing to the Duke Blue Devils in the East Regional Final. He would finish his college career with averages of 21 points, 10..3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and a baffling 4.1 blocks per game!

After graduating, Robinson would get selected as the top overall pick in the 1987 NBA Draft by the struggling San Antonio Spurs franchise but would not play until two years later in 1989 to fulfill his active duty obligations for the Navy. Robinson would train and receive commissions to become a staff officer in the Civil Engineer Corps. Salute to a true hero and veteran!

Upon his official arrival to the NBA in 1989-90, Robinson did not disappoint, going on to average 24.3 points, 12 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and nearly four blocks per game with 3.9. He had one of the best rookie seasons ever, resulting in him winning Rookie of the Year unanimously, being named an All-Star, an All-NBA third team selection, and All-Defensive second team in just his first season! Talk about transcendent.

He was a physical marvel, as you see in this photo, known as “The Admiral” as if he was built in a lab to play basketball and dominate, standing 7-foot-1 with a lean, muscular frame that was also agile, fast, and strong. He could run the floor unlike any big to ever play the game, as if he was a gazelle. One of the top centers of all time, Robinson in his first six NBA seasons won Rookie of the Year, MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards, in addition to a rebounding title, a scoring crown, six All-Star bids, three selections to the All-NBA First Team and three selections to the All-Defensive First Team.

A contemporary of Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing, Robinson posted career averages of 21.1 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.5 blocks and won two championships with the help of Tim Duncan — the second in his final season — to stake his claim as one of the NBA’s greatest legends. He and Duncan formed one of the most dominant “Twin Tower” pairings in NBA History, with both being dominant two-way players despite Robinson declining due to age and injury in his latter years. Outside of his two titles Robinson is an MVP (1995), 10-time NBA All-Star, 10-time All-NBA Selection, a DPOY (1992), eight-time all-defensive selection, led the league in blocks (1992), rebounds (1991), and scoring (1994).

He is one of the preeminent philanthropists in all of sports, having the NBA Community Assist Award named in his honor. He was a tremendous teammate and soft spoken man, who some thought at times should have been meaner on the court or else he be higher on this list, but, his impact on both ends was tremendous throughout his career and he is among the most unique players to ever touch a basketball because of his size, agility, strength, and all-around game.

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