David Robinson joined the Spurs for the 1989-90 season, and he helped the team produce the second greatest single season turnaround in NBA history (the Spurs also hold the record for greatest turnaround, in 1997-98, after drafting Tim Duncan). The Spurs went from 21-61 in the 1988-89 NBA season to 56-26 in 1989-90, for a remarkable 35 game improvement. They advanced to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs where they lost in seven games to the eventual western conference champions, the Portland Trail Blazers. Following the 1989-90 season, he was named the NBA rookie of the year, and subsequently SEGA produced a game featuring him entitled David Robinson's Supreme Court.
In the succeeding years, the Spurs kept making the NBA playoffs, but not winning the championship. Robinson also made the 1992 US Olympic Dream Team that won the gold medal in Barcelona. During the 1993-94 season, he became locked in a duel for scoring champion with Shaquille O'Neal, and by the last game of the season, he scored 71 points against the Los Angeles Clippers to win it.
Robinson went on to win the MVP trophy in 1995, and in 1996 he was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Still, from 1991 to 1998, the Chicago Bulls and the Houston Rockets thwarted Robinson's quest to claim the NBA championship that he desired so much to win. The losses against the Rockets were particularly painful for Robinson because the Rockets' center at this time was his rival, Hakeem Olajuwon, who to his own admission, outplayed him in the series. Robinson's NBA title dreams seemed to vanish when he was seriously injured in 1997, and the Spurs subsequently fell to a dismal 20–62 record. However, his injury proved to be a blessing in disguise: due to their dismal season record in 1997, the Spurs enjoyed the first pick in the next year's college draft, and with it they selected Tim Duncan, who would become in subsequent years the final key to their quest for an NBA title.
Awards and Accomplishments
His list of awards and accomplishments is long and include a number of records as well as sharing a number of distinctions with very few other luminaries of the game; for his on the court play, he was named among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.
- NBA Champion (1999, 2003)
- NBA MVP (1995)
- NBA Defensive Player of the Year (1992)
- NBA Rookie of the Year (1990)
- All-NBA First Team (1991, '92, '95, '96)
- All-NBA Second Team (1994, '98)
- All-NBA Third Team (1990, '93, 2000, '01)
- All-Defensive First Team (1991, '92, '95, '96)
- All-Defensive Second Team (1990, '93, '94, '98)
- 10-time NBA All-Star
- Only player in NBA history to lead the league in rebounding, blocked Shots, and scoring, as well as win the Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and MVP
- One of only four players to have recorded a quadruple-double
- NBA Sportsmanship Award (2001)
- Third player in NBA history to rank among the league's top 10 in five categories (7th in scoring (23.2 ppg), 4th in rebounding (12.2 rpg), 1st in blocks (4.49 per game), 5th in steals (2.32 per game) and 7th in field-goal percentage (.551))
- First player in NBA history to rank among the top five in rebounding, blocks, and steals (per game) in a single season
- Fourth player ever to score 70+ in an NBA game
- 3-time Olympian (1988, 1992, 1996)
- Led NBA in Scoring (1993–94 season) - 29.8 ppg
- Led NBA in Rebounding (1990–91 season) - 13.0 rpg
- Led NBA in Blocked Shots (1991–92 season) - 4.49 bpg
- Holds record for most IBM Awards (1990, '91, '94, '95, '96)
- His 10,497 rebounds and 2,954 blocked shots are the most by any player wearing a San Antonio Spurs jersey, and his 20,790 points are second most behind only George Gervin's 23,602. (Had only Gervin's NBA numbers been taken into account, Robinson would be #1 in this category; Gervin scored 4,219 of his points while the franchise was in the American Basketball Association.)
- Gold Medal in Basketball World Championship (1986)
- Member of Dream Team #1 during Olympic Games at Barcelona, and Dream Team #2 during the Olympic Games in Atlanta. Played in more Olympic Games as a men's basketball player than any other individual in U.S. History.