David Robinson: The Admirable Admiral


David Robinson had a Hall of Fame career, and his arrival in San Antonio made a lasting impact. He joined the San Antonio Spurs in the 1989-90 season after fulfilling his commitment with the Navy and instantly led the Spurs into respectability.

David Robinson

During his first year, Robinson helped the Spurs to achieve one of the biggest one-season turnaround in NBA history.

After a 21-61 record the previous season, the Spurs finished with a 56–26 record, good for first place in the Midwest Division.

Robinson had one of the most successful rookie seasons for a center in NBA history, finishing the season as the unanimous choice for Rookie of the Year award while averaging 24.3 points and 12.0 rebounds.

With that the Spurs began the 1990s with great optimism and became a perennial playoff team.

However, there’s a tendency among some basketball observers to discount some of his most notable accomplishments.

Fair or not, Robinson’s career is judged by many as mainly what he achieved after Tim Duncan’s arrival. The fact that the Spurs made only one Western Conference Final appearance before Duncan came to the franchise makes some forget how truly dominant Robinson was.

One recent statistical analysis ranks Robinson as the most dominant center of the complete statistical era of the post-merger NBA.

Neil Payne of Basketball-Reference.com crunched the numbers to figure the peak seasons of every NBA player during that time. Payne’s idea is to account for a player’s wins above a replacement level.

Robinson’s 1993-1994 season ranked second among all NBA players in history, trailing only Michael Jordan’s 1987-88 production.

Here’s another proof on how dominant Robinson really was.

Since the 1985-86 NBA season, a player has notched at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and six blocked shots in the same regular season game only 46 times.

Robinson leads the list with nine times in his career, followed by Hakeem Olajuwon with eight.

No player other than Robinson accomplished the feat more than twice in the same regular season. And during his streak late in the 1993-94 season, Robinson notched a 20-10-6-6 four times in a 22-game span.

Included was Robinson’s quadruple-double of 34 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 blocked shots on Feb. 17, 1994 which is the most recent quadruple-double in NBA history.

There’s a tendency among some to remember Robinson as the supporting player who with Duncan led the Spurs to titles in 1999 and 2003.

But Robinson’s overall production before Duncan arrived actually topped anything Duncan’s or anybody else not named Jordan has achieved in any season in the NBA’s modern statistical era.

Today, Robinson continues to make an impact in San Antonio off the court, by giving back to the community.

He may not able to lead the Spurs to an NBA title before Duncan’s arrival, but he certainly built the foundation for the Spurs; a legacy that should be remembered.

Re-live Robinson’s 71-point performance against the Clippers.

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10 thoughts on “David Robinson: The Admirable Admiral

  1. Pingback: David Robinson: The Admirable Admiral « Spurs World | | The Spurs StoreThe Spurs Store

  2. Great writeup on Robinson, he is another Spur who really under-appreciated but he has really helped the Spurs to be a good team during his prime.

  3. It was a very nice idea! Just wanna say thank you for the information you have diffused. Just continue composing this kind of post. I will be a loyal reader, thanks a lot.

  4. Robinson is great but not good enough to win the title. Maybe he lacked support that’s why his numbers are way too high during his time.

    His number might great, but Duncan is the man and will always be the man is San Antonio, having said that, I respect what Robinson contributed to the Spurs in 1999 and 2003 title runs.

  5. The Admiral took Duncan under his wing and the “Twin Towers” won two titles for San Antonio. I think that is how Robinson should be remembered more than his statistical accomplishments.

  6. Robby

    For me Robinson simply epitomized class and playing the sport like a gentleman which isn’t something that one could say about lot of his contemporaries playing today and that includes the major marquee names !

    If there’s anyone who’s managed to carry The Admiral’s legacy in that respect it would have to be his successor Tim Duncan !

    Someone wake me up when Stern and the union come to a decision please because this dispute has become almost as child like in its premise as the idiocy now being conducted within both legislative chambers and that of the President as they try and sort out this debt limit debacle !

    tophatal ………

    • Very Well said Tophatal, I couldn’t say it better myself. I agree with you on the NBA lockout issue. I’ll let you know if Stern wakes up in his slumber and do the right thing.

      • Stern waking up from his slumber ? He covets the limelight far more than the likes of these so called tv reality stars . He’s always been a consummate pain in the a_s !

        tophatal ………..

  7. I love this great article write up on David Robinson, great job bro. Robin could’ve problably written more, but we would’ve beening reading for hours on David Robinson’s greatest games and accomplishments. Also, the Admiral did’nt quite have the support cast he needed at that time, so SpursFanHenry you were right, it was like watching a one man team playing with kids. Seeing the beggining of the SAS franchise, we have had some great teams throughout SAS history like the “Bruise Brothers” come to mind. We also have had great players such as Nader, Gilmore, Kenon, Dietrick, and Moore) to name a few but we could’nt get over the hump. Also, remember, who was the assistant coach in waiting when David Robinson arrived in SA, Coach POP. Somehow; destiny was about to change forever “Lotto” and David Robinson was ours and no more losing to the Lakers in the finals. The affect was felt immediately throughout the league, he made us instant winners and contenders, the rest is history. I remember “THE ADMIRAL” in particular because when I was station in Charleston, SC, Naval Base I got to see some of his close gym practices. I knew right there and then destiny was about to change we were going to be Champions in a matter of time. I wrote this just to remind you guys about other factors that could’ve contribute into making David Robinson The Admirable Admiral, the person he is today. Yes, he could’nt have done it without Timmy but it does’nt matter who you put first or second David Robinson or Tim Duncan are both equally diserving.

    • Joe, Thanks a lot for the compliment. And you are right, ” It doesn’t matter who you put first or second David Robinson or Tim Duncan are both equally deserving.”

      Are both class acts. I wrote this to highlight what the Admiral has done for the Spurs and a reminder to every Spurs fan.

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