“We are young, but we feel we could stay in the game with anybody” – David Robinson on an emerging Spurs team in the 1990s

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The San Antonio Spurs had to wait two seasons for David Robinson, and it was worth it. After finishing the 1988-89 campaign with a dismal 21-61 record, there was no way to go but up. When ‘The Admiral’ finally played suited up for the organization, the Spurs became a different team.

They registered one of the greatest turnarounds in NBA history while also setting a team record for victories. With Robinson leading the way, San Antonio had hopes of winning it all that year. Being among the top finishers in the Western Conference, the real battle for Robinson and the Spurs would be the Western Conference Semifinals.

Bring ’em on

The three other top teams back then were the Los Angeles Lakers, the Portland Trail Blazers, and the Utah Jazz. However, it hardly mattered to the top pick of the 1987 NBA Draft. He was confident San Antonio could compete with any team despite their young roster.

“We are young, but we feel we could stay in the game with anybody,” Robinson said at the time via UPI.com.

To fare well, D-Rob had a formidable cast to help him out. That includes Sean Elliott, Pat Cummings, and mid-season acquisition Rod Strickland.

San Antonio ended up getting the third seed in the Western Conference. They swept the Denver Nuggets in the first round but fell to the Trail Blazers in the semifinals in seven games, 4-3.

Robinson put up decent numbers in that series, averaging 22.9 points and 11.3 rebounds. Cummings, meanwhile, led the team with 25.9 points per contest.

However, the Blazers proved too much to handle, with Porter and Drexler leading the way. Portland’s home-court advantage also played a factor, with the team winning all its games at home. The Trail Blazers went on to reach the NBA Finals, but they lost to the Detroit Pistons in five games.

Regardless, it was the start of something different for the Spurs. Since Robinson’s arrival, San Antonio has reached the playoffs in seven more seasons. ‘The Admiral’ racked up one accolade after another, although injuries hampered his run.

That included hurting his back in the 1996-97 preseason and breaking his foot in a game against the Miami Heat. With the 1995 MVP forced out, the Spurs would fail to advance beyond that year’s regular season.

Twin Towers

With the 10-time All-Star bothered by injuries, the Spurs would get a boost when they selected Tim Duncan in the 1997 Draft. Together, he and Robinson would form a deadly twin-tower combo.

Together, Duncan and Robinson led the Spurs to two NBA titles. The first came in 1999 when they defeated the New York Knicks in five games. The second was in 2003 when the Spurs defeated the New Jersey Nets in six games.

Robinson made his mark in the league and achieved it all. Capping his illustrious pro basketball career was his inclusion into the NBA’s 50th and 75th anniversary teams.

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