When we look back at the NBA Hall of Fame class of 2009 there is really only one name that gets the recognition..... Michael Jordan. Sure Mike more then deserved induction but beyond his accomplishments there is one thing about that draft class we need to recognize. And that is Lt. David Robinson.
David Robinson was a 14 year pro, two-time NBA Champion and the 1995 MVP. He scored 20,790 points and had 2954 blocks in an amazingly accomplished career. These numbers could have been much higher but there was one thing that held him out of two early seasons. David Robinson was not just an athlete, he was a soldier.
Coming out of Osbourn Park High School, David was recruited by almost every major school in the country. Not only was he a talented athlete but the man was a genius. He scored 1320 on his SAT (which in MENSA standards qualifies him as a genius) and decided the he would unselfishly attend the U.S. Naval Academy instead of a cushy college lifestyle. While at the Naval Academy Robinson became a four-time NCAA First team All American. In his senior season he received the Wooden and Naismith awards. He accomplished all this while being an honor student with a dual major in Mathematics and Quantum Algorithms.
After his final game at the Naval Academy he became eligible for the 1987 NBA draft, a draft that consisted of Reggie Miller and Scottie Pippen. Knowing that he would spend two years full filling his mandatory military service, the San Antonio Spurs drafted Robinson first overall due to his character and discipline.
Unselfishly Robinson forwent two years of his career to serve his country. In those two years of service Robinson achieved what he says was the biggest accomplishment of his life... becoming a Lieutenant in the United States Navy.
Many people thought that after two years out of the league Robinson may have lost a step or two. David proved them all wrong being named the 1989-90 NBA Rookie of the Year. He averaged a double-double with 27 points and 12 rebound a game.
Not only did he have historic numbers but Robinson was an unselfish teacher. When the Spurs selected Tim Duncan in the 1997 draft, after a horrible season where they went 20-62, many questioned Robinson's ability and longevity in the league. David ignored the rumors and taught Tim Duncan everything he knew, doing so created one of the strongest duos in basketball history. With his mentoring the Robinson and Duncan duo lead the Spurs to the 1999 and 2003 NBA Championships.
Beyond his storied career on the court Robinson did more in the community then most philanthropists. In 2001 he founded the Carver Academy in San Antonio. The Carver Academy is a free school for children in the inner city and helps them with training for college. Throughout his lifetime Robinson has donated over 11 million to charities in the U.S and abroad.
To top it all off Robinson represented our country as an Olympian. He was a member of the 1988, '92, and '96 Olympic Basketball teams. Robinson was a key leader for the legendary 1996 NBA Dream Team, a team that consisted of fellow '09 Hall of Fame inductees Michael Jordan and John Stockton as well as legends like Larry Bird.
So on a day when we set aside time to thank those out there that serve our country so graciously lets take a minute to appreciate something that rarely happens anymore in the world of sport. In an era of early entry out of college, and foregoing a collegiate education, I give you a man that not only graduated in the top of his class but also valiantly served his country.
Look at the 2009 draft class and tell me who deserved the headlines.
Thank you to all the service men and women that do things everyday to insure our safety. You do more then anyone could imagine and we appreciate it.