This is a picture of David Robinson on a stage wearing a suit. He is seated but gesturing with his hands. In front are the words: David Robinson's Education.

David Robinson’s Education: 2 Degrees of the Admiral

David Robinson’s education includes multiple college degrees. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He majored in mathematics at Navy. Robinson also got a Master of Arts in Administration from the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio in 2011.

Where did David Robinson go to college?

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David Robinson Navy Card

David Robinson moved around a lot as a child because his father was in the Navy. The family settled in the Virginia area when Robinson was a teen. 

He attended Osbourn Park High School and graduated in 1983. 

After growing from 5’9” to 6’6” late in high school, David Robinson caught the attention of basketball coaches at the Naval Academy.

His  father was a career Navy man, so it was an obvious fit. David Robinson applied for and was accepted to the U.S. Naval Academy. 

The United States Naval Academy is located in Annapolis, Maryland.

Navy is a highly competitive college that requires applicants to be nominated – usually by a member of Congress. There is no cost to attend the Naval Academy but graduates are required to fulfill an activity duty service obligation upon graduation. 

When Did David Robinson Graduate from College?

David Robinson graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1987. 

He attended the school from 1983 to 1987. He starred for the school’s basketball team while at the academy. 

What Was David Robinson’s Major In College? 

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David Robinson Navy Card: Greats of the Game

Unlike many other recent college athletes, David Robinson was truly a student-athlete. 

The Admiral was accepted to the Naval Academy after scoring a 1320 on the SAT. For those unfamiliar with the test, 1600 is the top score and 1320 is a high score. It is most certainly higher than the score of the author of this article!

The Naval Academy is also a pretty serious place where it is unlikely that you would see some of the games played with academics like you do at other big-time basketball and football colleges.

To pick the first player that came to mind, I looked into Carmelo Anthonly’s major in his one year at Syracuse. 

According to the school’s athletics site, Anthony “plans to major in selected studies” in the College of Human Services and Health Studies. 

Anthony probably stopped attending classes on the day the season ended. I am not really criticizing him – he was there to play basketball. 

No serious person believed he was a student-athlete. Carmelo was an athlete who had to take some classes to keep the NCAA off his back. 

That was not the case with The Admiral. 

David Robinson got a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy with a major in mathematics.  

How Much Did David Robinson Grow in College? 

By the time he enrolled at the Naval Academy, Robinson had grown another inch from his high school height of 6’6” and was technically too tall to be accepted. The college made an exception believing Robinson was probably done growing. 

Boy were they wrong! During his time at the Naval Academy, Robinson grew to 7’1” tall. He became a dominant force on the court for the Midshipmen.

Robinson grew four inches at the Naval Academy after growing nine inches his last two years of high school.  

Robinson is not the only professional athlete who had a late growth spurt that changed their lives. Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman had similarly late growth spurts that took them to the NBA. 

Did David Robinson Start a School? 

Towards the end of his playing career in 2001, Robinson and his wife started the non-profit, Christain private school Carver Academy in San Antonio.

The school was named for George Washington Carver – the most prominent black American scientist in the early 20th Century. 

The school linked up with a charter school network and switched to being a public, charter school in 2012. The name was changed at that time to IDEA Carver. It still exists today. 

Does David Robinson Have an Advanced Degree? 

Yes, David Robinson got a Master of Arts in Administration from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio in 2011. Robinson’s degree had a concentration in organizational development. 

He pursued the degree to help him better understand the businesses he was running. In addition to the Carver Academy, Robinson ran a real estate fund that included several large holdings. 

He was also involved with charitable work that involved extensive fundraising. Robinson believed the graduate degree would help him with all of these activities.

He enrolled at Incarnate Word online because he was involved with Carver Academy and had children at school as well. 

He also chose Incarnate Word in part because of its connection to Carver Academy. The College gave partial scholarships to Carver graduates who enrolled there. 

Did David Robinson Go Straight to the NBA?

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David Robinson did not go straight to the NBA after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy. Instead he spent two years in the Navy before starting his NBA career with the San Antonio Spurs. 

David Robinson Rookie Card

The Admiral, as Robinson came to be called, briefly considered leaving the Naval Academy after two years because his prospects for a career in professional basketball looked good. 

If he had completed his four years at Navy, Robinson would have been obligated to serve an extended tour in the service after graduation.

After contemplating leaving the Naval Academy, Robinson came to an agreement with the college. He would stay at the school  but would only be obligated to two years of Naval Reserve service after graduation.

The Navy agreed to this deal in part because Robinson had grown too tall for regular, active duty service on a Naval ship. 

After having the greatest basketball career in the history of the college, Robinson was selected by the San Antonio Spurs with the first overall pick in the 1987 NBA Draft. 

He joined the Spurs two years later in 1989 after serving in the Navy. 

His time in the Navy did allow Robinson to negotiate a better deal with the Spurs. Because he had not played for two years, Robinson could have re-entered the NBA draft. 

To avoid losing him, the Spurs agreed to a deal that paid Robinson the average of the two highest-paying contracts in the league each season. 

Neither party regretted the deal, however. Robinson went on to win multiple NBA titles alongside Tim Duncan. He also won nearly every individual honor a player could win: 10x All Star, 10x All NBA, 8x All Defensive team, member of the original NBA Dream Team and Hall of Fame inductee. 

Did David Robinson Have to Serve in the Navy? 

Yes, David Robinson served in the Navy. The Admiral, who was really a Lieutenant, (junior grade) served two years in the Active Duty Naval Reserve before joining the Spurs. 

He spent those two years at a submarine base in Georgia. He did not serve on the submarines because of his height. 

Robinson was a civil engineering officer at the base. He was regularly featured in recruiting materials for the Navy at the time. 

Summary: David Robinson’s Education

Most of David Robinson’s post-secondary education happened at the U.S. Naval Academy. Robinson enrolled at Navy after scoring 1320 on the S.A.T. The Admiral majored in mathematics at the Naval Academy and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1987. He also got a Master of Arts in Administration from the University of the Incarnate Word in 2011. 

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