Keeping up with Robinson

August 31st, 2016 by Katherine Coig

Window Film magazine’s assistant editor Katherine Coig had the opportunity to talk to 10-time all-star NBA legend, two-time Olympian, and full-time philanthropist David Robinson on the journey he’s taken from basketball all-star to private equity investor. He dished his best business advice on how he’s stayed successful through his capital-adventures and what’s important to remember when trying to maintain a sustainable business—with basketball analogies, of course. David Robinson

WFM: What’s your best business advice, or what’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

DR: “There are two things I always tell people. The first—just be patient. Be a patient investor and don’t succumb to last minute pressure. People will always try to pressure you, and that’s when you find you’ll make mistakes. Patience will always win. The second—make your get rich plan … at least 20 years.”


WFM: What’s your business philosophy?

DR: “Stick with the Golden Rule: ‘Do onto to others as you would have them do unto you.’ With any good sustainable businesses, both, or all, parties have to benefit from the partnership.”


WFM: What’s key in managing a successful business operation based on your own experiences?

DR: “Understanding what your resources are. Know your people and where they’ll be most successful. You have to understand what makes them excited and motivated. Putting your people in places they’ll succeed—that makes the best leader.”


WFM: How did you come about creating the Admiral Capital Group? What sparked your interest in private equity?

DR: “To be honest, I had no interest in equity. I had an interest in philanthropy. I wanted a way to get kids into college, get them focused on it at an early age. Once I started looking into private schools for my kids, I realized how little opportunity there was (private schools are expensive!), so I wanted a way for others who lived in areas that didn’t have that opportunity, to have it. And that’s how I started The Carver Academy which led to The Admiral Capital Group.”

Over the last 10 years, one hundred percent of all students that have graduated from Robinson’s charter schools have gone on to college.

WFM: What’s been your biggest challenge throughout your journey from NBA all-star to starting your private equity group? How did you overcome it?

DR: “There are challenges every day. I rely on a lot of people to do their job and do it well. It’s a group effort; it’s not just me. But, I believe in what I’m doing and that will always push you forward. It’s hard being the person everyone looks to when something goes wrong, but I stay in my own lane. I don’t like to control everything.”


WFM: How do you compete against someone you know is stronger than you? How does the underdog win?

DR: “Do your homework. No matter the predictions, you still have to play the game. It’s those ‘do-or-die’ moments when you find out a lot about yourself. You have to trust yourself and where you’ve been—never concede. Quitting is the only way to lose. Besides, being the underdog is motivating and incredibly freeing. Enjoy your situation, but it’s key that you be willing to accept the outcome.”


WFM: What are some career endeavors moving forward with the Admiral Capital Group and The Carver Academy?

DR: “With Admiral Capital Group, I just want to build a solid business. I’m still a basketball player at heart, but even when I was in the NBA, I wanted to have an impact on the community. I knew my records wouldn’t last forever, so I wanted to use my talents in a way that could last longer for the community. I want us to grow but never forget the roots of why we started this.”

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