Life in the NBA seems pretty great: Even role players can make themselves a hefty salary, and the biggest stars can easily earn $100 million over just a few seasons. Unfortunately, that big salary often leads to an extremely luxurious lifestyle. That might be fine while the athlete is still playing, but when the money runs out and there aren’t any more paychecks coming in… well, that’s when there’s trouble.
It has been estimated that 60% of athletes go broke within five years of retiring. Clearly there are some athletes who have beaten those odds. Guys like Hall-of-Famer David Robinson. David, who is nicknamed “The Admiral” because of his graduation from The Naval Academy, made good money during his playing days, but in retirement has made so so so much money off the court.
Don’t believe me? Well, consider this: In retirement, David has co-founded not one, but TWO private equity funds.
In 2007, Robinson founded Admiral Capital, which focuses on real estate. It raised about $115 million and acquired $350 million worth of assets. In addition, it’s received $50 million from the United Services Automobile Association and $15 million from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
Initially investing in 11 original investments, Admiral Capital has sold seven of them, netting investors’ 24% more than what they contributed. Building on that success, in 2015 Admiral Capital Real Estate Fund 2 was launched with $50 million in committed capital, and a goal of eventually raising $175 million. Robinson has partnered with former Goldman Sachs investment banker Dan Bassichis to launch both funds.
In November 2022 David and Dan announced that they were rebranding Admiral Capital Group as Vero Capital. At the time of their rebranding, David and Dan revealed that their funds have “deployed more than $700 MILLION of capital in transactions valued at more than $3 BILLION.“
Today David Robinson has a net worth of $200 million. He earned around $119 million from salaries during his NBA career. So in other words, in terms of “net” worth, David has earned 3-4X his NBA career earnings in retirement as an investor.
With the rebrand, David also announced he was personally stepping back from the day-to-day fund operations to focus entirely on their philanthropic endeavors. Speaking of their philanthropic endeavors…
David Robinson also plans to do some good with his fund’s profits. From the outset he has pledge to give 10% of profits to support lower income communities and education. His philanthropic efforts are really no surprise, though; Robinson has always used his position and clout to give back – in 2001, he founded and funded the $9 million Carver Academy in San Antonio, a non-profit private school designed to provide more opportunities for inner-city children. In 2012, Carver Academy became a public charter school, changing its name to IDEA Carver. Robinson wasn’t just content with founding the school; he’s still a very active participant in its day-to-day activities.
While on the court, Robinson averaged 21.1 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 3 blocks per game over 14 seasons with the Spurs. He never made more than $14.8 million in a season, but was a perennial All-Star and won the NBA MVP in 1995, plus two NBA titles in 1999 and 2003. And in case anyone ever asks you if you can name the only player who’s ever both scored 70 points in a game and recorded a quadruple-double, you can answer confidently: David Robinson.
Just as notably, he served as a mentor to Tim Duncan, who joined the team in 1997 – it’s rare to see a star veteran welcome in another potential star as openly as Robinson did, but again, it’s not so surprising once you see all he’s done for others.