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TRIALS OF DAVID
Leigh Montville
April 29, 1996
SAN ANTONIO SPURS CENTER AND BORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN DAVID ROBINSON IS TRYING TO LEAD HIS TEAM TO AN NBA TITLE AND REMAIN PURE IN A WORLD BESET BY THE SEVEN DEADLEY SINS
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April 29, 1996

Trials Of David

SAN ANTONIO SPURS CENTER AND BORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN DAVID ROBINSON IS TRYING TO LEAD HIS TEAM TO AN NBA TITLE AND REMAIN PURE IN A WORLD BESET BY THE SEVEN DEADLEY SINS

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"I didn't know him at all when I came here," Perdue says. "I'd played against him, but he never talks when he's playing. I wondered about that. Was he stuck up? He can seem aloof, but I think that's because he's always thinking about so many things. When you get here and see how he is, how he acts, how can you not like him? He doesn't push anything on anyone, but you know where he stands."

"He's different from how he was at the beginning," Elliott says. "But he's still human. He used to swear like everyone else, and it still creeps out once in a while. He'll miss a putt and say, 'Jeeeez.' We'll get all over him."

Those around him might disagree with his beliefs and his words sometimes-one friend remembers tuning out conversations about AIDS, which Robinson has said is a plague sent by God, and about fires in California and Hoods in the Midwest, which he thought were signs of God's wrath-but can there be disagreement with the way he lives his life? He walks through all the commercial hellfires that man has invented and comes out just fine. He prospers.

His mother and father, Freda and Ambrose, live in San Antonio and help administer his foundation. They have just cowritten a book, How to Raise an MVP-Most Valuable Person and Player. David's brother, Chuck, also a Christian now, is in the Air Force in Mississippi and studying to become a minister. Kimberly, their sister, is in Virginia, studying for her doctorate in adult education. David is in San Antonio, studying to be the best basketball player he can be.

Would he want to be Michael Jordan?

"I don't understand what Michael's doing," Robinson says. "Why did he come back? He has a beautiful wife and three kids. What's he trying to prove that he hasn't proved already? Is it that he's the best we've ever seen? We know that. It seems to me he's just chasing his own tail. Why isn't he enjoying this time with his family?"

Would Robinson want to be Charles Barkley?

"I love Charles to death," he says. "We've had many, many great conversations. You can just see the goodness inside him. It just wants to come out. Sometimes, though, he just can't help himself. He goes down that other path."

Is Robinson just happy to be himself?

"It's funny," he says. "I found the Lord, and since then everything has been like a magic walk."

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