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Professional basketball players are only interested in winning championships, receiving millions of dollars and personal glory. Right? Not David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs.
The NBA all-star and former MVP is also concerned with things such as feeding the hungry, mentoring juveniles and helping to provide a college education for high school graduates.
Not that Robinson's(nicknamed "The Admiral," because he help leads his team to victory) accomplishments are insignificant. He has been successful as a college and NBA player.
In college he was the only player in NCAA Division I ever to score more than 2,500 points, garner 1,300 rebounds and shoot more than 60% for a career. His 14 blocked shots in a game against UNC-Wilmington set a record that still stands. He had the highest career blocked shot total of 297 and average of 5.2 a game. It's no wonder he was a two time All-American and college player of the year his senior season at Navy.
It's also now wonder he was chosen first in the 1998 NBA draft by the Spurs. He had to sit out a year because of his military commitment before he could play.
He was rookie of the year his first season, NBA MVP the 1994-95 season, defensive player of the year in 1991-92, NBA all defensive team member four times, second team defensive player four times, won the 1991 rebounding title, the 1992 blocked shot title and was the only male to ever play basketball in three Olympic Games. The highlight of his career, however, may have been helping the Spurs win the championship last season.
He has time for a lot more than basketball, however. In 1992 he and his wife, Valerie, founded the David Robinson Foundation to assist programs which address the physical and spiritual needs of families--especially those which encourage educating children and promoting strong Christian faith values.
His organization provides grants to charitable organizations and makes donations for fundraisers--Spurs tickets, autographed basketballs and other items.
Among the special programs of the David Robinson Foundation are: Neigborhood students, which is a mentoring program for 91 local students; Feed My Sheep, a progaram which provides food to organizations which feed the hungry; and The Ruth Project, which offers diapers and baby food to need infants.
In 1997 Robinson also gave $5million to establish the Carver Academy at San Antonio's Carver Center, a multicultural and multiethnic community center and arts presenter. The academy is scheduled to open the fall of 2,000 and will provide educational programs to boys and girls in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.
In 1991 he also promised 91 fifth graders at Gates Elementary School he would pay $2,000 each toward their college tuition if they graduated from high school. In 1998 a total of 25 of the students graduated. Robinson, a father of three himself, said he felt like a father of 25 .
Robinson has said in Christian tracts printed about himself that although he had everything money could buy--luxury homes, classic automibles and other things--he still needed something. For him, that proved to be a commitment to the Christian faith.
"I knew something was missing, I just didn't know what it was," he said in the tract, Living The Dream.
After his newfound faith he has not only wanted to help others, but he also has shown a humbleness not always shown by star players.
After the Spurs drafted Tim Duncan, another 7-foot player, Robinson was only one of two go to players in a crunch. Some might have balked at sharing a staring role, but the move helped the Spurs win their first championsip. That was fine with Robinson, although it was a little hard for him at first.
"It grinds on me," he said in Sports Illustrated of his first reaction to a lesser role of occasionally scoring many points but more often only being a defensive and rebounding star. He said he "used to laugh" at people who only scored 12 points and collected 10 rebounds. His attitude changed, however.
"I guess I just figured winning was more important than anything else I could do for this team," he explained.
Even Duncan says Robinson can still have a big game scoring any time he wants.
"I don't have to do it myself anymore," Robinson said in Newsweek.
"The Admiral" is a man of many interests. He plays classic piano, loves golf and reading science fiction. He has said if he didn't play basketball he might be a scientist, musician or baseball player.
His teammates and coches have also said in Sports Illustrated that he has displayed courage by constantly playing while injured. They have said nobody really knows how much he has hurt sometimes while playing.
Seven-foot, one inch Robinson weighs 250 pounds and wears a size 17 shoe. He has a BA in Mathematics and scored 1320 on his college SAT tests.
Robinson is one player who proves you can be a star and humble at the same time, all while helping others.