David Robinson was named one of the 50 best NBA players of all time. He and his San Antonio Spurs were NBA champions in 1999 and 2003, in his last season. He was NBA MVP in 1995, Defensive Player of the Year in 1992, and Rookie of the Year in 1990. He was a ten time NBA all star, and often on the defensive first team, and a three team member of the United States Olympic Basketball team. He finished his career with a 21.1 scoring average, 10.6 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game. He retired with 20,790 points. Robinson was the first NBA player to be among the top five players in a season in rebounding, blocks, and steals.
While his basketball records are well known, a lot of people may be unaware of David Robinson, the Christian leader and humanitarian. Robinson is considered one of the best philanthropists in professional sports. Future winners of the NBA Community Assist Award will receive the David Robinson Plaque, because of Robinson’s assistance toward the community. He is one former player who believes his Christian faith, family, and helping others are more important than money.
One of David Robinson’s most notable charitable contributions was a $9 million commitment to The Carver Academy, a San Antonio independent school for students from a culturally diverse community. The school has grades Kindergarten through eighth grade and follows a traditional school year of August through May.
The school attempts to provide an environment to promote accelerated academics, along with high expectations. There is a curriculum based on national and state standards. Students participate in many field trips, hands-on activities, projects, and enriching activities, and listen to many special speakers.
Besides the core subjects, students receive instruction in Japanese, Spanish, music, technology, and physical education.
The school was named after George Washington Carver, one of the 20th century’s most notable men of character, who was a teacher, student, and spiritual and ethical leader and teacher. Carver followed eight cardinal virtues, of which two were to be clean inside and out and to neither look up to the rich nor down on the poor.
One of the groups at the school is the Carver Corps, which includes individuals, families, and businesses, interested in helping the school. There is a minimum annual gift to join of $1,000 for individuals and couples and $2,500 for businesses.
David Robinson says in www.christianitytoday.com that his faith teaches him that many people in the Bible set an example of not being entangled in the world’s affairs and to run the race the Christian faith calls for. He said in a different interview that his faith and family have always, at least since he has had his faith, come before basketball.
Every day Robinson challenges students at chapel with stories from the Bible of people who ran their own race of faith with determination. The former star says when he was a student teachers taught him to use what we learn to serve our country (Robinson played basketball in college at the U.S. Naval Academy), not to just earn a paycheck. He points to the example of George Washington Carver, who used his inventions to help farmers produce a wide range of crops.
David Robinson has a special concern to reach African American and Hispanic boys in high crime areas. When the building for the school was purchased, the area was cleaned up, even though the money was not yet available to finish the job.
“We have no tolerance for drugs or anything of the kind at the Carver Academy,” Robinson said in the Christianity Today interview. He said the school is operated on faith, integrity, initiative, service, and discipline. He said all of those principles are based on Bible verses.
Robinson, who did attend church as a child, did not have a strong personal faith in Christ until his second year in the NBA. After a minister spoke to him about how committed he was to Christ and His love, Robinson made a personal commitment to live the rest of his life for God.
Robinson’s involvement with the Carver Academy has been far from the only way he has lived out his faith and shown his humanitarian nature. Some of the ways he has been involved are: visiting with Make a Wish children; being a member of the NBA All-Star Reading Team; bowling in the Tim Duncan Bowling for Dollars Charity Bowl-A-Thon; giving a testimony at the annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes Night after a Spurs game; visiting with sick children at area hospitals; supporting local and nationwide charitable organizations by his participation in golf tournaments and fund raising events; recording public service announcements related to sportsmanship, disability awareness; reading; and being honest and fair.
David Robinson will be fondly remembered by many basketball fans, especially those in Texas. A lot of young people in Texas will remember him for other reasons too, including the many ways he has helped them.