After a successful collegiate career at the United States Naval Academy and two years of service in the Navy, David Robinson was the National Basketball Association (NBA) rookie of the year in 1990. He also captured the NBA most valuable player (MVP) award in 1995 and played on two league championship teams (1999 and 2003). Robinson also won Olympic gold medals in 1992 and 1996.
David Robinson, born in 1965, American professional basketball player, considered one of the outstanding centers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the 1990s. Known for both his defense and his scoring ability, the 7-ft 1-in (2.2-m) Robinson possessed agility and ball-handling skills uncommon in players of his size.
Born in Key West, Florida, and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Robinson attended the United States Naval Academy. He set more than 30 basketball records at the school, winning the John R. Wooden and Naismith awards as the top college player in the nation after averaging more than 28 points per game his senior season (1986-87). An excellent student, Robinson earned a degree in mathematics from the academy.
The San Antonio Spurs selected Robinson with the first pick of the 1987 NBA draft, but he did not officially join the team until 1989 after serving two years of his military commitment. Robinson's remaining years of naval service were waived because his height exceeded the maximum height limit for shipboard duty. (He grew more than seven inches during his time at the Naval Academy).
Robinson was an immediate success in the NBA, winning the 1990 NBA rookie of the year award as the Spurs' starting center. He led the league in rebounding in 1990-91 and was voted the league’s defensive player of the year in 1991-92 when he led the NBA in blocked shots. He also led the league in scoring in 1994 and was voted the NBA’s most valuable player (MVP) in 1995 when he averaged 27.6 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. Robinson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are the only players in NBA history to have led the league in points, rebounds, and blocks (although not all three categories in the same season).
Robinson missed all but six games due to injury in 1996-97, and the Spurs limped to a 20-62 win-loss record. After his return in 1997-98 and the debut of rookie Tim Duncan, the team improved to 56-26. In the lockout-shortened 1999 season, Robinson helped lead the Spurs to a 37-13 record and the franchise’s first NBA championship. Robinson and the Spurs won a second league title in 2002-03, and he retired as a player following the triumph. Robinson ended his NBA career with 20,790 points and 10,497 rebounds. His 2,954 career blocked shots are fourth on the all-time NBA list. Along with Duncan, Robinson was named the 2003 Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated magazine.
Robinson also played on three U.S. Olympic basketball teams. The first team, consisting of amateur players, won the bronze medal at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea; the second, made up of NBA players and known as the Dream Team, won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, Robinson was the leading scorer for the gold medal-winning U.S. team. As the only men’s basketball player to participate in three Olympics for the United States, Robinson holds the U.S. Olympic records for most points, rebounds, blocked shots, and games played.
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