David Robinson: from NBA to philanthropy and investments


david-robinson-suitThere are a lot of reasons to look up to former NBA basketball player David Robinson. The first, of course, is that he’s 7 feet tall. The rest are earned—a championship, a spot in the Hall of Fame, three Olympic medals (two of them gold) and a strong reputation as an overall nice guy.

Since retiring from basketball Robinson, 48, the player once known as “The Admiral” (he attended the Naval Academy) has been active in philanthropy as well as venture capital.

In a talk with FORBES contributor Dan Schawbel, Robinson discussed his founding of the non-profit Carver Academy in San Antonio. He’s also enjoyed stints on the boards of the USAA Federal Savings Bank and the Naval Academy Foundation.

In 2007 he and business partner Daniel Bassichis began Admiral Capital Group, an investment enterprise that includes a real estate fund and a private equity arm.

Robinson latest investment, and latest mission, is called Thrive15—an online platform showing short, intensive video lessons on various aspects of entrepreneurship or team training for just about any form of enterprise.

The service is aiming to sell small but important business and organizational lessons to users who don’t have the time or the money to pay for broader, more expensive and more time consuming curriculums. The service launched in early May. Thrive15 customers choose from several pricing levels, from $49 per month to $750 per year. Robinson is both a mentor on the platform and an investor in the business.

In a move that both promotes the company and lends a helping hand to military vets and their spouses, Thrive15 has vowed to offer a free subscription to a member of the military for every paid subscriber that signs up. The initiative is being launched in conjunction with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes Program.

Robinson, affectionately known as “the Admiral” for attending the U.S. Naval Academy and serving in the Navy prior to his remarkable Hall of Fame NBA career, played his entire 14 year career with the Spurs and helped them to two NBA Championships in 1999 and 2003.

During his career he was named the 1994-95 NBA MVP, 1991-92 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, 1989-90 NBA Rookie of the Year and earned 10 All-Star appearances.

For his contributions to the game and for his unbelievable career achievements he was honored with induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

A 10-time NBA All-Star, Robinson holds career averages of 21.1 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game. Robinson appeared in 987 NBA games (985 started).


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