Robinson’s Impact Reached Far Beyond The Hardwood

We continue with David Robinson tribute week here at Project Spurs with a look at the tremendous impact he had and is still having off the court.

David RobinsonWe’ve all heard the cliche over and over before, “he’s a class act on and off the court.” It’s a cliche used all too often on anyone who displays maturity, responsibility and basically does what they should do.

But David Robinson was different. While he ruled on the 94×50, his life work and possibly his most important work came when he was out of his silver & black uniform.

Robinson was a rare breed.  How many superstars out there do you see whose off-the-court resume matches what they did on the court.  In today’s NBA where bad attitudes, playing for several teams and drug charges rule the league and the marketing hype, it’s a wonder how Robinson was so overlooked during his career.

Malik Rose said it best in an Inside the NBA column on SI.com by Steve Aschburner.

“He could be an ass if he wanted to because he’s a superstar. But he’s one of the best people you ever want to meet. He’s my brother in Christ and like a father figure to me. I don’t think the NBA or definitely this team is going to realize what it’s lost until he’s gone.”

Luckily now, because of the Naismaith Basketball Hall of Fame, we get to take a look back and appreciate everything Robinson did, from his 71 point game to the $11 million he donated to found the Carver Academy on San Antonio’s east side with his wife, Valerie.

There’s his quadruple-double and the $2,000, which turned into an $8,000 scholarship he promised to a group of students at Gates Elementary School if they finished high school and went to college.

How about his two NBA championships and two Olympic gold medals?  Robinson is likely prouder of helping foot a $170,000 construction bill to build two homes in New Orleans with Chase.  But don’t think Robinson just wrote a check.  He was there during NBA All-Star Weekend in Louisiana to also get his hands dirty.

“Throughout my career, I’ve seen how much the NBA family has done for the community, and I am honored to participate in projects that help the people of New Orleans rebuild their lives, ” Robinson said. “We want to show the people of New Orleans that we haven’t forgotten about them.”

Don’t think Robinson philanthropic efforts stop there.  He has since started Admiral Capital Group as a way to invest in businesses with a commitment to social impact.  He has also partnered with Living Cities to form the Admiral Center.

The purpose of the Admiral Center “is to provide top-performing athletes and entertainers with the expert strategic and technical services they need to expand their community work beyond simple charity and in to sustainable philanthropy with maximum impact.”

The NBA Community Assist Award, which is given out monthly, is now named after Robinson.  The winner gets the David Robinson plaque with the inscription “Following the standard set by NBA Legend David Robinson who improved the community piece by piece.”

I could probably go on and on but in honoring Robinson, I wouldn’t want to continue doing something, listing his NBA and philanthropic resume, that he would oppose doing himself.

Instead I’ll tell you this.  Instead of telling our kids to be the next Lebron or Kobe, how about asking them to do more than excel at their sport.  There will never be another David Robinson, but giving them a fitting role model would be a good place to start.

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.

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