The Admiral and the David Robinson Rookie Card

The David Robinson rookie card provokes images of strength. Known as The Admiral, Robinson was one of the toughest but quietest and most widely respected big-man centers in NBA basketball history.

His legacy shares the floor with incredible centers such as Patrick Ewing, Shaquille O’Neal, and Hakeem Olajuwon. 

The Admiral was a 10-time NBA All-Star, a two-time NBA champion, a two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner, a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, and a two-time U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame inductee.

He was honored by being named to the NBA 50th Anniversary and 75th Anniversary Teams.

David Robinson’s Early Years

David Robinson was born in Key West, Florida. While the Robinson family frequently moved during his father’s work in the U.S. Navy, they settled in Virginia, where David excelled in school and sports.

Basketball was not on Robinson’s radar in high school until his senior year, when he experienced a growth spurt from five foot nine inches to six foot six inches.

Robinson would earn all-area and all-district honors but did not generate interest among college basketball coaches or recruiters.

College Basketball and the Navy Academy

After graduating high school, Robinson attended the United States Naval Academy, majoring in mathematics and playing on the basketball team.

In Robinson’s final two years, he was nominated for the All-American team and won the Naismith and Wooden Awards as a Naval Academy first classman.

His service in the Navy would lead to his nickname, “The Admiral,” although his actual final rank was Lieutenant. 

Highlights of The Admiral – David Robinson, earning his nickname at Navy.

When he graduated, he became eligible for the 1987 NBA draft. He was selected by the San Antonio Spurs with the first overall pick.

The Spurs would have to wait two years for Robinson to fulfill his active-duty obligation with the Navy. 

David Robinson in the NBA

Robinson’s rookie season with the Spurs in the 1989-1990 season was a massive turnaround for the team. The Spurs were recovering from the worst record season in franchise history at the time.

Robinson brought the Spurs to the second round of the Western Conference, where they lost to the Portland Trail Blazers.

However, his performance allowed him to be named NBA Rookie of the Year, where the Spurs made the playoffs seven more seasons in a row. 

During the early part of Robinson’s NBA career, he made the 1992 U.S. Olympic Dream Team, where they won the gold medal.

1992 USA Basketball Dream Team David Robinson

Additionally, he would win the NBA MVP in 1995, and in 1996, he was chosen to be in the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. Yet, from 1991 to 1997, the Spurs could not win the NBA title. 

In 1994, Robinson was one of the first players to record a quadruple-double, scoring 34 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, and 10 blocked shots.

World Champion

The Spurs would have their championship season in the 1998-1999 season. They would beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers, and Los Angeles Lakers to reach the NBA finals.

During the NBA draft, they picked Tim Duncan, who worked with Robinson to beat the New York Nicks, winning the NBA title. 

david robinson career stats

Unfortunately, Robinson’s later years were plagued with back issues. The Spurs would have a poor performance in the 2002 season. Robinson announced his retirement from the NBA in the 2002-2003 season.

In 2003, the Spurs won the NBA Finals against the New Jersey Nets, and he would share (with NBA Final MVP Tim Duncan) the Sports Illustrated 2003 Sportsmen of the Year award.

Robinson’s Retirement

After Robinson retired from the NBA, he would invest the earnings he made during his career into lucrative opportunities.

In 2004, the Admiral invested in the Spurs, purchasing a 2% stake. Since his investment, the Spurs’ value has significantly appreciated to about $1.8 billion.

In 2007, Robinson co-founded a private equity fund called Admiral Capital Group, which invests in several companies and real estate across the United States.

Additionally, he founded Living Cities, which aims to work with local governments and address problems related to racial and economic inequalities in America.

David Robinson Rookie Cards

David Robinson’s fantastic performance as the San Antonio Spurs center is a popular collectible among sports card enthusiasts.

From historical sales data of the Admiral’s cards, values have been rising consistently, making David Robinson an excellent addition for collectors of baseball cards, football cards, hockey, or basketball cards.

1989-90 Hoops David Robinson Rookie Card Series 1

The 1989-90 NBA Hoops card #138 is David Robinson’s trademark card. A David Robinson, PSA 10 Hoops card, is estimated to have an average selling price of around $500.

The David Robinson rookie card was printed with the very first year of NBA Hoops cards. The first series included 300 cards, with a 53-card update released a few months later.

1989-90 Hoops David Robinson Rookie Card

One interesting fact about the 1989-90 Hoops David Robinson card is it was the first time a card featured a player in his rookie year since the 1970-71 Pete Maravich and Calvin Murphy rookies.

Since David Robinson was drafted in 1987 but needed to serve two years in the Navy before playing in the NBA, the 89-90 Hoops card was ready to print featuring the much-hyped star rookie. 

1989-90 hoops david robinson rookie

1989-90 Hoops David Robinson Rookie Card Series 2

1989-90 Hoops David Robinson Rookie Card Series 2

1990-91 NBA Hoops David Robinson #270

1990-91 NBA Hoops David Robinson #270

On the other end of David Robinson’s well-known official rookie card is the 1990-91 Hoops David Robinson All-Rookie Team card, one of Robinson’s cheapest rookie cards.

It features Robinson winning the 1990 Rookie of the Year award. A high-grade card can be worth around $60. The NBA Hoops David Robinson San Antonio Spurs card is a classic.

1988-89 Diamond Shamrock San Antonio Police David Robinson Rookie

1988-89 Diamond Shamrock San Antonio Police David Robinson Rookie


The 1990-91 Fleer set contains several rookie trading cards belonging to legends like Tim Hardaway, Vlade Divac, and Glen Rice.

The back of this fleer rookie card also includes his biography and accomplishments. A high-grade PSA 10 Gem Mint card is valued at around $50.

1990 fleer david robinson

1990 Fleer Rookie Sensations David Robinson #1

The 1990 Fleer Rookie Sensations David Robinson #1 is a stellar card valued at around $400 in PSA 10 condition. The card features the image of a young David Robinson ready to pass off the ball during his rookie season.

1990 Fleer Rookie Sensations David Robinson #1

Other Great David Robinson Cards

1990 fleer All-Stars David Robinson #10

1990 fleer all-stars David Robinson #10

1992-93 Topps Archives David Robinson #7

1992-93 Topps Archives David Robinson #7


The 1995 David Robinson Topps Finest REFRACTOR #245 was made from the year where Robinson earned his NBA Most Valuable Player award and featured Robinson with the ball.

A PSA 10 Gem Mint perfect condition card is priced around $700 to $800.

1995 David Robinson Topps Finest REFRACTOR #245

The 1996 Topps Chrome REFRACTOR David Robinson card is an iconic card that features Robinson trying to block Michael Jordan. This fantastic card with a high-grade range from $400 to $1,000.

1996 Topps Chrome REFRACTOR David Robinson

1990-91 Skybox David Robinson

1990-91 Skybox David Robinson

1998-99 Skybox Autographics David Robinson #50 Black & Blue Ink

1998-99 Skybox Autographics David Robinson #50 Black & Blue Ink


David Robinson will be forever known as one of the NBA’s best centers and was well known for his strong offense and defense.

His relationship with Tim Duncan would eventually pay off, leading to two NBA titles while mentoring a rising star.

The Admiral, David Robinson, will go down in NBA history next to Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and the other greats of the game.

The Michael Jordan rookie card might get all the attention, but David Robinson rookie cards bring back memories of the steady professional racking up big stats and leading his team to victory night after night.

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