One of the top centers of all time, David "The Admiral" Robinson is a marvel of a basketball player and a respected figure off the court as well. He's the only male basketball player to represent the U.S. in three Olympics, and was chosen as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history.
Robinson's community service stats are even more impressive. In 1992, Robinson and his wife, Valerie, created the David Robinson Foundation, a Christian organization with a mission to support programs that address the physical and spiritual needs of the family. More recently, he gave $9 million to establish the Carver Academy at San Antonio's Carver Culture Center, a multicultural and multiethnic community center.
The future Hall of Fame center, who retired this season, also has teamed with the Spurs Foundation for 13 years to provide 50 Spurs season tickets for "Mister Robinson's Neighborhood of Achievers," a program that recognizes children for their accomplishments in the classroom and community.
Not surprisingly, Robinson has been named Sports Illustrated's 50th Anniversary Ambassador of Sports. During this year-long celebration, the importance of parks and recreation programs in enhancing community sports will be highlighted.
Q: Sports Illustrated's 50th anniversary celebration is focused on the fans, and sports as a force for good. Can you comment on that?
Robinson: Well, the great thing that I like about what Sports Illustrated is doing is that they're focusing on sports as a force for good in the country and in the community, and the main good thing is that it brings all the cultures together. You look at a city like San Antonio--when we celebrate the championship everyone comes together and everyone is happy, and that's a great thing. How many times in a city do you see everyone on the same page? Everyone is happy, and everyone is enjoying the same thing. There's no crime, it's just a joy! And that's a force for good.
Q: What positive things do sports bring to us?
Robinson: It teaches [us] about life ... [sports] just teaches us how to persevere and teaches us to get along with people who aren't like us, but we can come together.
Q: Sports Illustrated's 50th …