They haven't had a winning record since 1982-83, and attendance has always been disappointing, even in the 10 seasons (1973-74 through '82-83) when the Spurs went to the playoffs. A four-letter word—M-O-V-E—was starting to be heard around town.
The Spurs have sold only about 7,800 season tickets, 2,200 shy of McCombs's goal of 10,000. McCombs said if the goal isn't met, "then, yes, we have some decisions to make."
Decisions like moving the team out of San Antonio? "I don't want to say that yet," he said. "Obviously the team is worth more away from here, but I want to make it work here. Now! And I think we can."
The key is Robinson, and he's thoughtful and sensitive enough to feel the pressure. "All the attention I've received is, well, embarrassing, because I'm still trying to make my place in the league," said Robinson, who will earn about $26 million over eight years. "It's easy to lose your priorities and your identity. Particularly when you don't even have an identity."
However, don't get the idea that the 24-year-old Robinson would rather be working as a civil engineer at the Trident submarine base in King's Bay, Ga., where he was stationed the last two years. "I feel like I'm growing again, changing, expanding as a person, the way I did in college," he said. "I'm reading a lot, teaching myself to play the piano, even writing some songs."
His mentor in matters musical is Cummings, a fine vocalist and a self-taught pianist. Robinson, in fact, bought a synthesizer similar to Cummings's to take on the road and has almost completed a ballad. "Kind of a Lionel Richie thing, written in D-flat," he said.
The world almost certainly doesn't need another Richie-like ballad, but it's always a bit short on 7'1" guys who read books, know how to use the word impunity and can block Magic's layups. Yes, Lieutenant (j.g.) Robinson has dropped anchor, and it looks as if he'll be staying for a while.