Produced by: Dan Hwang
Written by: Jesse Carr
David Robinson played the game with fire and unmistakable poise. His on-court persona didn’t, however, match his placid demeanor outside the gym. Many know him as Mr. Robinson, the moniker bestowed on him by a famous Nike campaign, while others knew him as the Admiral – a name derived from his service for the U.S. Naval Academy. Robinson dominated the hardwood, and perhaps his most awe-inspiring accomplishment was a quadruple-double with more 34 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds, and 10 blocks against the Pistons in 1994. On the court, he wore a few famous Nike models, including this segment’s RE-Fresh model, the Air Force 180 from 1991. Reebok’s basketball line is best known for the innovation of their Pump technology, which Nike countered with three models of its own, the Air Pressure, the Air Command Force, and the Air Force 180.
These ultra-high top sneakers showcased Nike’s rugged “Force” line of basketball kicks geared for the rigors of the frontcourt. Their lighter, backcourt kicks worn by the likes of Scottie Pippen and Ron Harper, comprised the “Flight” series best known for their sleek, streamlined design. Robinson’s game was refined and technically sound, as he was a powerful 7-footer with an All-American pedigree. Boasting strong grades and a degree in mathematics, Mr. Robinson was the first overall pick in the 1987 draft, though the San Antonio Spurs knew they would need to wait until he served his two years in the Navy as a civil engineer to see him on the court.