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 two 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 on big man David Robinson from the US Naval Academy and then waited two 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 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 (over Hakeem Olajuwon) gave them 14 great years and helped them win two 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.
BILLY HOYLE APPROVES
Let’s also remember Woody Harrelson wore David Robinson’s signature “1991 Nike Air Command Force” sneakers in the classic film “White Men Can’t Jump.”