San Antonio Spurs History: David Robinson wins the 1994 scoring title
In the final game of the 1993-94 season, San Antonio Spurs legend David Robinson pulled off a scoring barrage that sealed him as the NBA scoring champion.
During the 1993-94 NBA season, David Robinson proved to be one of the most dynamic centers the game had ever seen. Coming off four straight dominant NBA seasons, all of which culminated into four straight playoff berths for the San Antonio Spurs, Robinson’s growth in every aspect of his game was evident on a night-to-night basis.
His progression came at a rapid pace. From being a dominant rebounder and defensive player to one of the most dynamic offensive threats the game had ever seen, The Admiral truly transcended the Spurs franchise from mediocrity to a perennial playoff contender.
All of this was most evident on April 24, 1994. After putting up career-best scoring numbers for the entire season, Robinson’s final task was clear. The NBA scoring title was in his grasp after Shaquille O’ Neal put up 32 points in his final game of the season to push his scoring average to 29.3 points per game, it would take a monumental feat for No. 50 to accomplish this goal.
Entering the final contest of the ’93-’94 season, Robinson trailed Shaq by 33 points for the NBA’s scoring title. With Robinson facing the woeful Los Angeles Clippers, he erupted for what was the seventh-highest point total ever in a game up to that point. His previous career-high was 52 points against the Charlotte Hornets led by Alonzo Mourning and Larry “Grandmama” Johnson. Robinson, one-upped himself when the stakes were higher than ever.
Robinson played like a man amongst boys, leading the Spurs to a 112-97 victory against the Clippers, giving the Spurs their 55th win on the year. Robinson’s 71-point outing is an offensive barrage the league hadn’t seen since Michael Jordan‘s 69 points in 1990, or even further back, David Thompson‘s 73 points in 1978.
Throughout the contest, David obliterated any and everybody the Clippers put on him. The Admiral shot 63 percent from the field, scoring 71 points, cleaning the glass with 14 boards, tallying five assists and protecting the rim with two blocks. This game ended up being the big 5-0’s 46th double-double on the season, while also locking in the highest points per game average he’d ever put up in his career.
The scoring output put him 0.5 points ahead of Shaq for the NBA’s lead in points per game, which ultimately gave David Robinson the NBA scoring title. This ended up being the lone scoring title for the Hall of Famer, but a game that will forever go down as a legendary moment, a history-making moment in the NBA.
After the game, Robinson told Tulsa World: “I looked up at the scoreboard,” Robinson went on. “I said, ’71 points. Oh, my goodness!’ It was unbelievable. My team has been behind me the whole year. They always push me to do a lot of individual things. As a leader, I just try to win games, but tonight they really wanted me to shoot it. When the game started, they were looking for me almost every time down the court.”
Robinson’s offensive train was unable to have been stopped, with Clippers coach Bob Weiss telling Tulsa World “Robinson was spectacular.” he added “That was exactly what we didn’t want to happen. We double-teamed him with our forwards every time we could, but he still scored the points.”
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Sometimes, basketball is just that simple. Robinson proved that without a shadow of a doubt, he was one of the most versatile, dynamic two-way players the game had ever seen up to that point.
Robinson truly is an icon in NBA history and a statue for what embodies the San Antonio Spurs culture. Throughout his career, his sheer dominance before the selection of Tim Duncan in the 1997 draft was on front-street every night he stepped on the floor. After the selection of Timmy, the “Twin Towers” utterly played off each other well enough to secure the Spurs two championships in four years, giving the city the Larry O’Brien and the culture a measuring stick that became the blueprint for Spurs teams of the future.
The Alamodome was blessed Robinson’s game, night-in and night-out, giving you the absolute best, he could. Robinson’s career is one many tend to sleep on, but make no mistake about it, when you look at transcendent players, ones who revolutionized their position, guys who can play in any era, David Robinson is surely one you can add to the list.
This culminates to this final point, scoring 71 points in a game to win the scoring title truly shows the greatness of David Robinson. But, I’m sure David’s accomplishment felt a bit sweeter knowing he took the scoring title away from a guy who he “rejected giving an autograph” to. *wink wink*