David Robinson, 10-time NBA All-Star and one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history, will pay tribute to the role music has played in his life by serving as Honorary Chair of the 2020 Gurwitz International Piano Competition in San Antonio.
The competition has attracted leading pianists between the ages of 18 and 32 to San Antonio since its creation in 1983. On Jan. 27 through Feb. 1, 2020, 12 pianists from China, Russia, Canada, Italy and the United States will compete through four rounds of classical compositions, some of them with international origins. The final round will be performed with the San Antonio Symphony.
Robinson, who grew up playing the piano and now plays the flute daily, quickly agreed to become Honorary Chair for the competition which is founded on cultural values he shares.
"I have been blessed to call San Antonio my home for the last three decades and watch the city become world-recognized for basketball,” Robinson said. “Now with the Gurwitz International Piano Competition, we are raising the bar for the performing arts as we attract the best and brightest emerging talent from across the globe. Music has been an incredibly important part of my family's life, and I'm honored to support San Antonio's musical community in this effort."
Music, he added, has been an important part of his family's life. “My grandfather taught my dad and all his sisters and brothers how to play music, and it was something I was expected to learn,” Robinson said. “And music adds a certain color to your life, and for me, I think I needed that outlet. I’m very mathematically focused, I’m very logical, and I loved that creative outlet. It gave me a balance.”
Anya Grokhovski, Artistic Director and CEO of Musical Bridges Around the World, sponsor of the competition, describes Robinson as a quintessential athlete, military veteran, and multi-dimensional leader.
“He attributes the art of piano as contributing to the man he is today,” she said. “To have this NBA All-Star, ‘The Admiral’ himself, serve as Honorary Chairman of The Gurwitz elevates awareness and importance of this competition on the global stage as the world of piano shines a spotlight on San Antonio in 2020.”
Robinson led the San Antonio Spurs to 1999 and 2003 NBA Championship Titles, and during his time in the league he was named NBA Most Valuable Player (1994-95), NBA Defensive Player of the Year (1991-92), and NBA Rookie of the Year (1989-90). He is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and is the all-time leader in U.S. Olympic basketball history in career points, rebounds, and blocked shots. Robinson was inducted into the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Hall of Fame in 2013.
In 1992, he and his wife Valerie created the David Robinson Foundation which has raised close to $40 million for The Carver Academy (TCA), an independent school designed to serve pre-K through eighth-grade students in San Antonio. In 2012, TCA partnered with IDEA Public Schools as its first school in San Antonio, and the network has grown to 20 schools reaching 10,000 students in San Antonio.
In 2007, Robinson and Daniel Bassichis, formerly of Goldman Sachs, founded Admiral Capital Group. Built around Robinson’s long-standing values and integrity, the framework for Admiral’s sustainable business model brought together an interest in private equity and a desire to make a positive impact through philanthropic and investment activities. Admiral currently manages over $1 billion of assets focused on value-add real estate. Additionally, Admiral has invested in private equity opportunities in the sports and hospitality industries.