NBA to Building Schools in Retirement with David Robinson

Retirement is the toughest decision you will ever make. You’ve built a life around your career, a wealth of skills that are too good to throw away… and you’ve got money coming in.

When you retire, your life turns upside down. It sometimes feels like your skills are going to waste. And when the money slows down, it can be downright scary!

So how do you decide when to make the leap?

According to today’s guest, you pray and you listen.

Today’s guest is David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs. He retired from the NBA in 2003 and has now built over 100 schools. And today he’s here to show you how to leave a legacy to be desired, even if you struggle with retirement at first.

In this episode, you’ll discover how God gives you clarity around retirement and how to build a legacy you will be remembered for.

Listen now!

Show Highlights Include:

  • How a close connection with God helps you retire young without regrets ([9:45])
  • Why retiring lets you build a legacy that your community will remember you for (even if you never work a day for the rest of your life) ([13:12])
  • Take control of your finances by discovering which of the three “money minds” you have ([15:05])
  • How to set your children up for life, even if you donate your entire estate to charity ([16:32])
  • How to change lives after retirement by repurposing the talents you learned in your career ([18:52])

DLP019 - David Robinson From NBA to Building Schools


Do you want a wealthy retirement without worrying about money?


Do you want a wealthy retirement without worrying about money? So welcome to the Retire In Texas Podcast, where you will discover how to enjoy your faith, your family, and your freedom in the state of Texas. And now here’s your host, financial advisor, author, and all-around good Texan, Darryl Lyons.


([00:28]): Welcome to the retiring Texas podcast. I’m glad you’re here today. My name is Dar Lyons. I’m the co-founder of PAX financial group in San Antonio, Texas. And PAX financial group is the sponsor of this program. So thank you for that. And before we get started, I need to make sure you have our legal disclosure. This material contains general information only, and it is not intended to provide specific tax or legal advice. Visit PAX financial group.com for more information, investment advisory services offered through PACS financial group. So I’m excited to have, have one of my good friends here today. And we’re gonna talk to Mr. David Robinson, some people call him the Admiral. So thanks for coming here today, David.


([01:09]): Yeah, no, thanks Darrell. It’s good to be here. We’re actually gonna talk a little less about basketball, more about your transition into retirement. Is that all right? Yeah, no, that’s great. I mean, we’ll get into that stuff, but so you didn’t grow up in Texas? No, I grew up in Virginia Beach area. You, my dad retired from the Navy and so when he, he retired in the near the DC area, that’s kind of what I was more familiar with Virginia Beach up to Northern Virginia. And then I went to school in Maryland. For some reason. I thought it was Florida. Now I was born in Florida. I was born in key west, but lived most of my young life in Virginia. Okay. Yeah. And when you grew up, did your parent, I mean, did they have a lot of money? Were they middle class? Were they professional players? I mean, I would say lower middle class, maybe, you know, they were, you know, we never wanted for anything, but we didn’t have a lot of things, you know, kind of lived a little bit over our means to get to the like live in middle-class areas. And I thought that that made a big difference in, you know, I was able to go to a very good school, wooz, Virginia Beach has some good school systems and that made a huge difference in us that we decided, you know, we wanted to go to college, we needed to go to college and didn’t know how we were gonna pay for college, but all three of us went and you know, my sister has her Ph.D. now and I’ve got my master’s and my, my brother went to Naval academy after me and is doing very well. Yeah. That’s great. So what did your parents do?


([02:26]): My parents, my dad was enlisted in the Navy, so he had a long Navy career. And then after he retired, kind of worked for some consulting companies around his job. And then my mother went to nursing school was a licensed practical nurse there for many, many years as I grew up. So did they teach you about money or did you observe anything about money along the way? Not really. I, I think my dad was pretty good with money, but it, it wasn’t an active conversation. So, you know, it was like I said, it was not something we ever worried about as kids that we were not gonna have enough money to do anything, but we knew we didn’t have extra money. So you know, Christmases would be small and that was fine. We’d go over to our friend’s house, where they all got lots of gifts and so we’d go visit them. But yeah, no, we were happy. It was never, a point of discussion, I think. Well, a nurse and active duty. That’s good. Middle last income. Yeah. No, I mean, you know, together, they really made it work. Yeah. And like I said, I think they put a lot of their energy and effort into being able to live in nice middle class neighborhoods. So yeah, I think that was the main way they increased really in wealth was through property.


([03:34]): Okay. So they started to invest in property is well, not outside of where we lived, but we were able to move to nicer houses. Oh yeah. So you’re kind of keep building equity through houses and right. But not on base. Y’all, didn’t live on base. When I was little, we lived all in the base, but after a while we got our own house and then, then we started living in and nicer and nicer places military communities, or like whether a lot of military, well early on was military community. So I do remember like little Creek and down in Norfolk, we lived military housing. But like I said, after that, we moved to some, some really decent neighborhoods. Was there ever a ever a low point financially in y’all’s family’s life where you’re like, man, we, if we don’t get through this, this is, this is gonna be tough If there was, I didn’t know about it. So I think my mom and dad did a real good job of never having us worry about that stuff. Okay. I think, you know, they had a hard time early on and they made ends meet and just, you know, just like so many families, but you know, if they had problems, they would never, ever let us know that they had had challenges.


([04:33]): Where did they learn that from? I mean, they, that’s a good question. And, you know, I think my dad’s just a very smart person. You know, had an opportunity to really go to college and, and do some things, but you know, ended up dropping out of college. And I think mainly cuz of attitude, issues and challenges, but you know, he was always very smart. I think he was motivated enough to go out and learn about the world. And I think through the Navy you end up having to, he was a senior chief when he retired. So he had to run departments and, and I think he learned financial management through running some of those departments. So when you graduate high school, then you go to the Navy and kind of fast-forwarding from there, spending your time with the San Antonio spurs when you retired, I’m kind of advancing a, you know, passing a lot of the NBA life. But when you retired, did you officially retire from the spur? Sure. The NBA, how does that work officially,


([05:25]): Both, you know? Yeah. I mean obviously when you play for the NBA, you have a pension through the NBA. So when you retire, you’re retiring from the NBA. Fortunately, I was able to play for one team. So yeah, it was the same for me retiring from my team and from the NBA at the same time. And so that pension helps a lot of the younger athletes who have a hard time managing money. They’ll eventually have that pension to live off of. Right. Yeah. You know, I mean, it’s not a ton of money, but it is. It’s a nice, steady income for the rest of your life, which is pretty nice. Particularly if you play for a decent amount of time and yeah. It’s for people who have to go out and find other opportunities, it’s a nice income. So can you play one year and get a pension? No, you know, I think you get, you end up getting a pension. I’m not sure how many years it’s maybe three years minimum or something. And I’m not sure exactly what the minimum is, but there is a minimum, Yeah. I think it’s three years. That’s nice, and we’re gonna go into a little bit on what you’re doing now, but when you were in the NBA, did you spend a lot of time kind of thinking about, okay, I need to start planning for after, because I know like Tim Duncan, I know he started a lot of the auto dealerships. He was already like thinking about retire, you’d see him pop up black Jack around the community. I was like, all right, Tim’s gonna retire soon. Right. So were you thinking, when did you start kind of thinking, okay, I need a plan for that.


([06:45]): It kind of happened over time. I mean, I was thinking about the things I wanted to accomplish when I retired. And I think when we started the cover academy that was eyeopener as far as having to raise money, you know, I wanted to help people and I wanted to give back to the community. And not only did you have to have great partners, but you had to be able to raise money. And so that’s what got me started thinking. I never wanted to really get into business. I wanted to continue helping people. I’m an educator at heart. That’s kind of what I wanted to do, but you can’t do that without money. It drove me to start my own business and it drove me to get people involved. And so everything I’ve learned really came out of necessity. So the Carver academy was a great transition for you because you really started to learn and I’m putting words in your mouth, but correct me if I’m wrong, but you started to learn really what it took to do business in the civilian world, outside of the NBA, outside of the military. And part of that was going and, and raising money. What type of skills did you learn during that time?


([07:48]): Yeah, I’d say the number one skill, you know, really was the networking skill. I, I never had a good networking skills and didn’t see the point of it. And as a basketball player, your main focus is to keep people away from you. You know you want to be able to focus and do your job. Everything in your life revolves around you. I gotta train. I’ve gotta do this. I’ve gotta stay focused and I can’t have distractions. And so you’re really pushing people away more than anything. And, when you get into the business world and the philanthropic world, it’s all about building relationships. And, and that was the biggest change for me. You know, coming into the business world. I never wanted to hand out my card. You know, it was so painful to me every time I, you know, I remember those days Actually, I gotta go to give my card away. I was like, please don’t call, please. Don’t call, please. Don’t call. That’s been the hardest part by far of the transition into the business world. Really being able to build those relationships and reach out to people and know who to trust and who not to trust.


([08:45]): So we’re talking with David Robinson here on retiring Texas. And for those that are listening, you can grab our ebook retire at texas@paxfinancialgroup.com. We’ll continue this conversation as we’re learning about David and how he transitions out of the NBA into the civilian world. And he’s doing a lot right now. We’ve touched on the Carver academy. I wanna know how your wife responded when you said, I think I’m gonna retire. My wife has always been incredibly supportive. You know, her name is Valerie. Valerie is you know, we’ve been married 30 years now. We just celebrated years last month in Hawaii, right? Yeah. We, congratulations took a little time and then got away. So that was wonderful, but she’s always been incredibly supportive. You know, she just, she wants me to, to do what I need to do. And so I think she was, either way, she was fine with whether I retired or whether I didn’t retire. The kids were still relatively young. She would love to have me, you know, around the house to be around the kids. But at the same time, you know, I was making a good living. So that was fine as well. So, you know, she wanted me to do what felt best to me and my faith drives everything I do. And so, as I was praying, I just felt like the Lord saying it it’s time for you to move on. I’m ready for you to go to this next phase of your life, not knowing exactly what it was. I just knew it was time to move on. So I, you know, I told everybody the year, I think it was, oh three told everybody at the beginning of the year, I’m gonna retire this year. I feel like the Lord has something else for me. And that was, that was true. He did. I just didn’t know what it was at the time. He


([10:11]): Had a lot for you. What a way to go out. That was an incredible year. No, it was amazing. You know, and in a championship in year, last year, the very last time I walk off the court it’s, you know, winning the championship. So that was, I mean, I think, you know, I always tell the boys, you know, that, that God has these elegant solutions, you know, that you, you would never think you can’t find a way out, but God has a solution that just surpasses your wildest imagination. And that really was that for me, you know, it past my wildest imagination to be able to end my career with a championship and then make a transition, go home and be dad, husband. And every phase has just been, it has blown my mind. I just laugh sometimes at God and what he’s done in and through you over the years, it’s been remarkable and there’s some stuff offline that we’ve talked about and I’m like, man, God still shows David favor. Like, it’s


([11:00]): Amazing. It’s ridiculous. I mean, it really is. I, you, you couldn’t plan some of this stuff. I, you know, I’m, I’ve been having played for almost 20 years and yet I have incredible favor. I mean, I go all over the world and you know, my son’s playing just outside of Tel Aviv. And I was over in Israel last two years ago. And so many of these people came up to me and they said, you know, I grew up watching you play, you know, we stayed up all night to watch your games and you were my favorite player. And I’m thinking, wow, that was like 20 years ago. So, you know, so it really is amazing. The favorite that he, he gives me and even with current NBA players in the respect, they, they treat me with and it’s phenomenal. I feel very blessed.  Yeah. It was neat seeing when we went to the game the other day and seeing some of the younger, I think RJ Barrett and some of these younger guys kind of look up to, you can start seeing him, Hey, they’re looking up to you. They’re coming around the kitchen table at the Robinson house, probably asking all these questions. Like, are they asking you questions? Like, what do I do with my money? Or like, are they asking


([12:01]): Many, many of them? And, and mostly, you know, a lot of the families ask me that, you know, when now when my son was at duke and we would spend some time with the families there, those were the main questions, you know, how do we plan from the money perspective? And I, you know, I think it’s much more of a business prospect for these families. Now they understand that they’re getting really transitional wealth, transformational wealth for their family. And so, you know, they’re understanding that, Hey, we need to start thinking this through and get the right people in our lives. And so it was really, I thought it was fantastic to hear, you know, the questions that some of the families started asking. And, you know, I’m not a financial advisor, so I didn’t try to give a bunch of financial advice, but certainly, from my experience, I could give ’em a perspective to say, yeah, start thinking about these things. Don’t spend a lot of money up front, you know, just save your money and, and, you know, let the markets really work. Are you, as, as opposed to, you know, you feeling like you have to go out there and find all these opportunities, steakhouse, and


([12:59]): Yeah, exactly. You don’t need, you don’t need all of that stuff. Especially with the level of income that many of these guys are making. You don’t need that. And so it was refreshing to see that they were asking those types of questions. Was there anything that really concerned you about retirement? Like when you’re making that transition, you got the championship. I mean, life is pretty good, but was there anything I, your faith drives you? I know that. So I’m trying to get at, was there anything that worried you you’re like, can I do this? Will I have enough? Like anything there, everything worried?


([13:31]): No. I mean, you know, how do you go from such a great job and making a lot of money to potentially no income, right. And you still have responsibilities, right? You’re still trying to raise money. You’re still, I built a school. So when you build a school, you know, you’re looking at its schools are money pits. And so how do we support that? You know, how do we build a network to support that? So there was a lot of question about the long-term viability of the school. Eventually, we became a charter school, partnered with idea public schools. Now we’ve grown and we have, you know, nearly a hundred schools all across Texas and Louisiana, and now expanding into Florida. And what a legacy Arkansas. I mean, we’re all, it’s, it’s amazing. So yeah, it worked out well, you know, another God thing, but it will work out well. But at the time I had a lot of questions. We had this one school and I didn’t know the long-term funding or sustainability of it. So, there were a lot of challenges there, I think from a family perspective, making sure that, you know, I made good generational decisions with our portfolio. And so it’s easy for you to make mistakes. Even the smartest people make mistakes, make, make poor investments or make poor decisions. And so I felt that kind of pressure to say, wow, what am I going to give to my kids? And to my community? You know, if I had my druthers, I’d give all my money away, but you can’t do that. Right. You know, you really want your wealth to be transformational for your family as well. So there were a lot of questions I had. I said, Lord, you know, how is all this gonna work? We have to be smarter than, you know I think I am. 


([15:05]): So you know, it’s funny because we do behavioral finance at packs and we’ve broken down. There are three different personality profiles, there’s protection, money, and mind there are those that are just focused on happiness. I just want stuff today. Yeah. And then there’s commitment. Those that want to give. So if I have like a little old lady client, she wants to give it all away. I really have to put boundaries on her giving. I have to tell her, look, you cannot give this way. I need you to not outlive your money. So your commitment, money, mind, meaning that you want to give it away. I’m protected, meaning that I can’t get a big enough emergency fund cuz I’m kind of nervous. But no, I, I understand that because that, that really is, it is a tough balance. And you know, my thing is I always think about, you know, in scripture, you know, Jesus told the rich young ruler, you know, give all your money to the poor and then come and fight me. And to be able to let go of what you have is a difficult thing, right? Each of us kind of comes to that in a different direction. That’s a good point. And, and so some of us just, we could just lay it all down. For some of us, it just doesn’t make sense mentally to lay it all down, you


([16:08]): Know? And it takes time. You know It takes time. You have to, you have to figure out what, it looks like for you because it doesn’t necessarily look like that. Rich young ruler just gives it all away and come follow me. But it does mean lay it down. It does mean don’t be clutching it so tight that it is going to hinder you from coming to me, you know, and coming to Christ. And it’s easy to lose perspective there. And so that’s a balance. I think I had to figure out, you know, and my wife and I both look at it very differently. You know, she’s a mother she’s very protective of your money, right? She’s like, Hey, I, you know, I’m not leaving my kids with nothing. And you know, my thought process is like, what do you mean? Nothing? They grew up so pretty. They grew into great schools. Are you kidding me? You know, my oldest, you know, went to Texas and my middle one went to Notre Dame. My youngest got a master’s degree from Duke. Like, what do you mean? Leave them with nothing. They’re, they’re in incredible situations, you know? But like I said, everyone approaches it differently and you see it differently. And, and I wouldn’t say either one is wrong, it’s not wrong. It’s just nice to have balance. It’s nice to have good counsel around you and be flexible to serve the people around you.


([17:15]): Did you learn that giving, growing up from your family? I would say no. I would say what I learned from my family was that nothing was promised. My mom and dad, you know, grew up in difficult situations where they, you know, the environments were very segregated. So the opportunities were not, there are for African Americans. And so they knew that the world was kind of against them. Right. It was like the United States is not built for people who look like you. So you have to do go above and beyond the normal, if you’re smart. And there’s another kid that doesn’t look like you, that’s just as smart. He’s gonna get all the opportunities and you’re not. So I grew up with that as a reality. And so I knew, oh boy, there’s a little bit of pressure. I’ve gotta go better and do better. Right. So that was my challenge growing up is I can’t just be average. I can’t be what everyone else is. I’ve got to be that much better.


([18:07]): And that’s the ever changed? No, that’s never changed. I mean, and I still feel that pressure and you feel it with carpentry or woodwork. I mean, everything that, everything I take on, you know, it’s just, I, I feel like I can’t be average, you know, it’s just, it’s just not okay. And you know, and yeah, that drives you a little bit. It’s a little bit of, you know, you, it’s putting pressure on yourself, but in honesty, you’ve gotta bring out the best in your, you know, that’s, you’ve been given gifts, right? You’re not, you’re not given those gifts to bury them in the ground. You’re given those gifts so that you can nurture them and grow them and come back with more and not more, for more sake, I don’t need more money, but I do need to fulfill this drive. That’s within me. Right. I need to fulfill the talent and the potential and the gifts that I’ve been given. I can’t waste them. I wanna unpack that for a second because a lot of people listening all across the world are thinking about transitioning into retirement because the environment is not working for them. They, you know, they work home, work from the office, work from home. Everything’s kind of confusing. So a lot of people are transitioning. 10,000 people are turning 65 every day. And what you just said was important. And I’m gonna tease that out a little bit more, but the way I would like to tease it out is how would you advise somebody to think about life after retirement?


([19:21]): Yeah, I would think about it as just your next phase of life. You know, we all go through different phases, right. You know, even a marriage, right? You have the pre-kid phase, then you have the 20 years of raising the kids and then you have the, you know, empty nester phase. They’re all phases. Then I wouldn’t say anyone is inherently better than the other. They’re just different. And you have to learn to appreciate and enjoy them for what they are. And I think retirement is that exactly. It’s, it’s, it’s a new phase and you have to decide, am I going with this phase, right. Is this going to be a, you know, relaxed, get to know my wife again and get to, you know, be home and be a dad or be a husband. That’s just as important as anything else. Right. You know, maybe you’ve spent a lot of your time on the road and you haven’t been able to really invest in your home relationship. Well, okay. Well maybe retirement’s a great time to do that, but yeah, if you have talents and gifts, they can be used for sure. I mean, they can be used in the nonprofit world. They can be used in other businesses. They can always be used. The question is, you know, what’s in your heart, are you ready, are you prepared to go to that next phase and do the next thing?


([20:28]): Yeah. And that’s really encouraging because people have 30 years of life often left. You know, if you’re tired at 65 life expectancy getting longer and longer. And so to hear that is encouraging for people to still look into their hearts and say, Hey, I still have some more left to give the last question I have as we close this out is the most important question. And well I have two questions. First of all, let me, there’s one question I wanted to ask. You could have retired in Virginia. You could have retired in New York. You could have retired anywhere. Why did you choose San Antonio, Texas?


([20:59]): We had built a life here. The community had embraced us and there’s so much opportunity. And while I was playing, we started the Carver academy here. We’d invested in this community really heavily into this community. And you know, we wanted to see that kind of come to fruition and our boys grew up in Texas. So, you know, we were very comfortable here. Yeah. There were some other places we could have gone. We loved to go to Hawaii and was a beautiful place, Colorado, right In Colorado. We went to, we used to go to Colorado, the summers for 10, 15 years. And so, yeah, there were other places that I thought were beautiful and wonderful, but we had made a life here and I thought the opportunities were still very strong here to impact this community.


([21:41]): Well, and you’ve seen, I mean, over the last 20 years, the growth in south Texas in San Antonio, and I know you’ve done the business in San Antonio. I know you’ve done business in the Rio Grande valley. Yeah. Probably Austin. I, I, you have a lot of stuff going on. Yeah. We’ve done business. We bought some properties in Austin. I mean, you know, yeah. We’ve invested in Texas, you know, and I think what’s exciting is we’ve been, we happen to be here during a time of incredible growth. Austin has grown in the last 20 years like gang busters and almost too fast. And you know, here San Antonio is one of the top fastest-growing cities in the country. So, you know, we happen to be in a phenomenal area. The fastest-growing population is the Hispanic population. And so what’s gonna happen in the Rio Grande valley. When you see this population growth in the explosion and the education can match, right. We’re building these phenomenal schools for low-income families. Well, these families, aren’t gonna be low income for long. You know, they’re gonna have very bright kids that go off to college. We’re sending every single child to college. So, you know, and that’s thousands of kids every year at the Carver.


([22:45]): Yeah. Through idea public schools. Yeah. So we’re sending all of these kids to school. And so what’s gonna happen when your population explodes and they’re well-educated, young people. This is the place to be really, it’s gonna be transformative for this area. And we already have seen some of it, some of that potential growth, but in the next 20 to 25 years, I think there’s gonna be explosive growth down here. Yeah, that’s true. So now here’s the most important question. What is your favorite salsa? Salsa. Wow. You know, just a little regular Pico from taco cabana or something or Chipotle. I mean, I, those, those little Picos are just the best just with a hint of jalapeno and some fresh tomatoes. Do You remember when Sean Elliot did that taco cabana? Oh. Commercial who could forget those? Those are still in my head. The Classic Sean Elliott commercials. Yeah. No, those were fantastic. And you know, he would dress up talk, oh, come on. No, you know, that was a lot of fun.


([23:40]): Well, you know, we could make fun of your act throwing. Right. Well, there you go. So anyway, you know, the local commercials are, are the most fun ones you can, you can get away with a lot there. Well, I’m glad you retired in Texas. It’s been great to watch you do things in the community. Invest in the children, invest in the next generation. Valerie’s been a great supporter and thanks her too. Appreciate everyone listening today to retire in Texas. I just wanna remind you as we close out, grab have to retire in Texas at ebook@paxfinancialgroup.com. And remember you think differently when you think long term,


([24:13]): This is the podcast factory.com.


Ready to have a real conversation about securing your future?

Schedule a free no-strings-attached phone conversation.