David Robinson was a very successful NBA player and he’s become a very successful businessman. The former San Antonio Spurs center stands 7-feet tall and has the reputation of being one of the nicer human beings. Still, Robinson said recently, there are some people out there who see him and assume the worse from him simply because he is black.
David Robinson’s basketball career
David Robinson was the top overall pick by the San Antonio Spurs in the 1987 NBA draft after playing college basketball at the U.S. Naval Academy. Because of a two-year commitment to the Navy, Robinson didn’t make his NBA debut until 1989.
It was well worth the wait for the Spurs, who got 14 years out of Robinson. With Robinson, the Spurs won a pair of NBA titles. He won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year when he averaged 24.3 points and 12 rebounds per game while playing in all 82 contests. The following season, Robinson led the league by averaging 13 rebounds per game, also in 82 games.
He led the league in scoring during the 1993-94 season, averaging 29.8 points per game. While he was a scoring machine, he was just as good defensively as he made the NBA’s All-Defensive Team eight teams. He was the Defensive Player of the Year in 1991-92. Robinson was a 10-time NBA All-Star and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
Robinson has a clean-cut image
David Robinson has always been a class act. His reputation as a good guy was well documented. He was so nice that Shaquille O’Neal had to make up a negative story about him so Shaq had a reason to be mad at him during their playing days.
In a Scoop B Radio Podcast, Shaq admitted he made up a story about Robinson not signing an autograph for him when they were younger. Shaq needed a reason to get motivated when the two centers went head-to-head in their playing days. They were two different players. Shaq was an intimidating, back-to-the-basket center who would dunk all game. Robinson could shoot from outside and drive to the basket. Shaq had to find a way to get made while playing The Admiral.
“David was just so nice and respectful,” Shaq said. “He’s just a nice guy. I’m not a bully. You have to piss me off for me to get mad. David was, ‘Hey Shaq how ya doin? How’s your family?’ So nice and – so I had to make something up just to make me mad and then when I came down to San Antonio and the fans start booing me – ‘Oh you’re booing me in my hometown?’ And then it was like a hatred thing for David and the Spurs. But it was all made up.”
Robinson said people assume the worst from him because he’s black
David Robinson has continued his success story after his NBA playing days. He is a co-founder of a successful investment firm that has been in operation for 17 years. Despite all his success and fame, Robinson said the color of his skin still makes people afraid of him. “I’ve had a lot of success and still some people assume the worst about me,” Robinson told CNN Business.
Robinson said he had a recent encounter with an older white woman who bumped into him and she told him she was worried he was going to rob her. He said that type of story, although it’s getting a lot of attention now since the murder of George Floyd, it’s been happening forever.
“Part of the challenge is to help people understand that this is not just happening now. It’s bubbling to the surface more, but black people are aware of this all the time,” Robinson said. “Black people are running a 400-meter race when everyone else is starting at the 200-meter line, It’s all built into the system and that is not something that escapes us.”