Remembering When the Spurs drafted David Robinson (& waited 2 years for him to play)
Most teams are willing to use a #1 pick on a raw big man who might take a year or so of playing in the NBA before they start to develop into the All-Star type player they are hoping for. But not many would use their #1 pick on a player they wont even get to see in a NBA uniform for 2 years. Then again, most teams with a #1 pick don’t have a shot at a David Robinson like the Spurs did.
In 1987, the San Antonio Spurs used their #1 pick and drafted big man David Robinson from the US Naval Academy and then waited 2 years for him to finish his commitment to the Navy.
On November 4th of 1989, The Admiral finally made his big debut with a big stat line of 23 points and 17 rebounds in a Spurs win over the Lakers. He was later selected to the All-Star game during his rookie season and easily won the Rookie of the Year award after winning Rookie of the Month every single month.
So, I would say it was worth the wait. The future MVP gave them 14 great years and helped them win 2 NBA championships.
1997 NBA DRAFT
Other notable picks from the draft were Pippen (#5), Kenny Smith (#6), Kevin Johnson (#7), Reggie Miller (#11), Mark Jackson (#18) and Reggie Lewis who was a steal for the Celtics at #22.
The card pictured is the 1989 Hoops Rookie Card of David Robinson. It was the first popular basketball card and single-handedly made basketball cards popular when only baseball and football cards were.
Packs of 89 hoops sold at retail stores like Wal-Mart for about 50 cents with the Robinson card selling for up to $30 (which was crazy back then). Since the packs were transparent on the top, packs with the Robinson rookie card showing at the top sold for about $50. Later that year, Hoops released a series 2 product featuring Robinson wearing the Spurs jersey and those cards sold for around $10.