Robinson Captures Scoring Title
The Admiral has sunk another record.
David Robinson became the leading scoring in Spurs franchise history on Friday, surpassing George Gervin's 19,383 NBA points. Robinson scored his 19,384th point on a slam dunk in the first quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Needing 14 points to surpass Gervin's total in Wednesday's game versus Houston, Robinson came up with 11 -- prompting some friendly ribbing from his teammates.
But Robinson answered quickly in the first quarter against the Cavs, scoring two points on free throws, then setting the record with the two-handed slam. He finished with 7 points, giving him 19,388 on his career.
All that's just fine with The Iceman. "He has an opportunity to surpass me and I applaud him," said Gervin before Friday's game. "He's a great individual and a great leader. He's got all the skills." Gervin scored a total of 23,602 points as a Spur in 12 seasons, but 4,219 were in the former ABA league, which is not included for official NBA records.
Amazingly, Robinson is now the Spurs all-time NBA leader in points, games, rebounds, blocked shots, assists, and both free throws made and attempted.
Now in his 13th year, Robinson adds the scoring title to a stellar resume of honors. He won the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 1990, was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award in 1992, and became the league's MVP in 1995. He is a nine-time NBA All-Star, and is the only player in NBA history to be named to both an All-NBA Team and an NBA All-Defensive Team in each of his first seven NBA seasons. He was also named one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players of All-Time. In 1998-99, his 10th season with the Spurs, he earned his first NBA championship ring.
Robinson owns career averages of 22.7 points per game, 11 rebounds per game, and 3.18 blocks per game. He is a .739 lifetime free-throw shooter.
Robinson is living proof of the old adage that good things come to those who wait. A 1987 graduate with a mathematics degree from the U.S. Naval Academy, Robinson honored a commitment to serve two years in the Navy before joining the NBA, then waited 10 years before finally getting his ring.
The San Antonio Spurs selected Robinson with the No. 1 pick in the 1987 NBA Draft. After his two years of military service, during which he competed at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, he joined the Spurs in 1989-90 and earned Rookie of the Year honors after averaging 24.3 points, 12.0 rebounds and 3.89 blocks and shooting .531 from the field. San Antonio had posted a 21-61 record in 1988-89, but in Robinson's rookie year the Spurs went 56-26 and captured the Midwest Division title. The 35-game improvement marked the greatest single-season turnaround in NBA history.
Robinson's numbers were similar in each of the next three seasons as he took his place among the best in the league. His achievements included All-NBA First Team selections in 1991 and 1992, an All-NBA Third Team spot in 1993, and NBA All-Defensive First Team berths in 1991 and 1992. He led the league in blocked shots in 1991-92 at 4.49 per game and was a member of the original Dream Team that won a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
But the best was yet to come. Robinson scored 71 points against the Los Angeles Clippers on the last day of the 1993-94 season to win the NBA scoring title at 29.8 points per game. (Shaquille O'Neal finished at 29.3). The next year, 1994-95, Robinson averaged 27.6 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 3.23 blocks; paced the Spurs to the NBA's best record at 62-20; and won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award. The Spurs advanced to the conference finals before losing to Hakeem Olajuwon's Houston Rockets, who went on to dispatch O'Neal and the Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals. Following the 1994-95 season, Robinson was named to the 1996 U.S. Dream Team, which would win a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Atlanta.
In the summer of 1997, Robinson and his wife Valerie donated $5 million to help create the Carver Academy, an independent school designed to serve pre-k through eighth-grade students who live primarily on the eastside of San Antonio. The Carver Academy opened for classes earlier this year.
Spurs All-Time Leading Scorers (NBA points only; as of 11/16/01)
David Robinson - 19,388
George Gervin - 19,383
Mike Mitchell - 9,799
Sean Elliott - 9,659
Larry Kenon - 6,733
Avery Johnson - 6,486
Tim Duncan - 6,559