Former San Antonio Spurs center David Robinson was known for his stoic demeanor during his Hall of Fame NBA career, but he was an open book while visiting with Turner’s Ernie Johnson Jr. during an #NBATogether Memorial Day live stream.
The Admiral was selected No. 1 overall by the Spurs in the 1987 NBA draft but did not debut in the league until the 1989-90 season because of two years of military service in the Navy. Still, Robinson had eight seasons and seven All-Star nods under his belt before fellow Hall of Famer Tim Duncan arrived to San Antonio as the No. 1 pick in 1997.
“Tim, he’s a humble guy,” Robinson told Johnson. “I always thought I was kind of quiet, and Tim made me feel like I was loud. But he came in, and he was unassuming and obviously phenomenal. When I first saw him play, I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, you’re incredible. This is gonna be a lot of fun.’ I didn’t think he was gonna be better than me, but I certainly thought he was gonna be really good.”
The 1994-95 MVP added: “For me, seeing Tim come in and knowing that I had real help, which would give us a real chance to win a championship, that was life-changing right there. I was very excited about it.”
The Spurs had never won a championship until 1999. Robinson and Duncan captured two titles together (1999, 2003) before Robinson retired following the 2002-03 campaign, and Duncan went on to win three more (’05, ’07, ’14) before retiring in July 2016.
Robinson later told Johnson he considers Duncan and Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, who played for the Spurs from 1998 through 2001 before finishing his career there in 2002-03, among the best teammates he ever had in San Antonio.
Duncan is the Spurs’ all-time leader in several categories, such as games played (1,392), blocks (3,020) and points (26,496). Robinson is the all-time leader in win shares per 48 minutes (.250), player efficiency rating (26.2), free throws (6,035) and more.
This is Duncan’s first season serving under Gregg Popovich as an assistant coach in San Antonio. The 44-year-old headlined the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class alongside Kevin Garnett and the late Kobe Bryant.
Robinson was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2009.