David Robinson, “The Admiral” on Leading from the Front
David Robinson – "The Admiral," to his legion of fans – famously led Navy to within a game of the Final Four and went on to enjoy one of the game's great careers, earning him an NBA MVP award, two NBA championships and two Olympic gold medals. He shares how his time at the US Naval Academy and career with the San Antonio Spurs shaped his views on leadership and being part of a team.
On leadership lessons learned from the Naval Academy: “I call the Naval Academy a leadership factory. You go there as a kid and you come out as a man. They teach you how to lead, and so coming to the San Antonio Spurs, you’re one of those guys who is looking to make change…And so I saw different things that I needed to attack…Now 30 years later, all [those] things fell into place. We [have] arguably one of the greatest sports franchises in our day. So, my mindset was, “How do I come in here and make a difference given my circumstance?” And that all came from Navy.”
On what makes a person great: “I think what makes a person great is that the whole tide around them is rising. The one thing I loved about being in San Antonio was our culture. We [were there] to make each other better.”
On his impact in the San Antonio community through The Carver Academy, co-founded with his wife in 2001: “Our goal was to grow 20 schools in San Antonio, and we now have 14 schools with 5500 students, 8000 kids on the waiting list, and next year we’ll open six more schools. And when we’re finished doing what we [plan to] do, we will end up doubling the number of low-income kids going to college in San Antonio every year.”