Admiral on the bridge
San Antonio's David Robinson can silence critics forever
Posted: Monday June 07, 1999 12:40 PM
By Andy Johnston, CNN/SI
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Everybody can now get off David Robinson's back.
We know, we know. He still hasn't led the San Antonio Spurs to an NBA championship -- but he's finally in the Finals -- and that matters. Besides, the Spurs will almost certainly be favored to beat either the Pacers or the Knicks, once their ugly series concludes.
Every since Robinson came into the league 10 seasons ago, people have said he's too soft or isn't vocal enough or it was his fault his teams couldn't win big games. Well, he's on his way now. He was asked Sunday if he feels vindicated.
"Not yet," he said. "But four more games and I will."
But despite all the misgivings about Robinson, he has earned respect as a player. That's something his teammates don't get. Sure, the Spurs posted the best record in the NBA this season (42-6 since starting the season 6-8), but folks still see them as a team that has yet to prove itself.
"I feel that we get no respect" guard Mario Elie said.
Why? Because other than Robinson and Tim Duncan, there are no stars on this team. Before the playoffs, most fans would have been hard-pressed to name a Spur sub. Heck, Elie, fellow starting guard Avery Johnson and backup Jaren Jackson all spent time in the CBA before finding a home in the NBA and helping form the exceptional chemistry on this team.
After Sunday's victory, Robinson, perhaps sensing his final shot at the championship, spoke to his mates.
"You should have heard him," Tim Duncan said. "It means so much to him. He's worked so many years and this is the first time he's gotten there. What he said is that this is the best that he's felt with a team, looking at all the people on the floor that he knows he can count on."
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