David Robinson is widely considered as one of the best centers ever to lace ’em up, definitely the best player ever to come out of the Naval Academy. Born in Key West, Florida, as a boy, David performed exceptionally well in most sports; however, basketball wasn’t one of them. Standing at 5 foot 9 inches and in Junior High, he was relatively tall for a kid but he never really thought he was ever going to go to the NBA, let alone be the first pick of the 1987 NBA draft.
Coming into his senior year, the basketball Gods blessed him with an extra few inches and now standing at 6 foot 6 inches, and he was appealing enough to be added to the varsity roster of Osbourn Park High School in Virginia. Although Robinson had a solid senior year, he didn’t get enough looks from established basketball programs across the country and therefore decided to follow his father’s footsteps and attend the United States Naval Academy.
When it was time for his first collegiate game as a freshman, Robinson was already 6 foot 9. He grew another 3 inches throughout his collegiate career and entered the 1987 draft as a seven-footer. Spurs picked him as the #1 overall pick of the 1987 draft, but what many of you don’t know is that they had to wait two years for Robinson to join the team and they took the gamble.
Why you might ask, well, what many of you might not know, Robinson had to serve an obligatory two-year active-duty for the Navy. During the two years, he worked as a civil engineering officer at the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia. Upon completion of the active duty, he joined the Spurs and immediately in his rookie season carried them to the best single-season turnaround in league history at the time.
The Spurs gamble had ultimately paid off as Robinson brought them back to the road of glory and helped them win the 1999 and 2003 NBA championship.