NAVY BASKETBALL HAS A STORIED PAST AND BRIGHT FUTURE
By Buddy Blouin
Collegiate sports are a tradition unlike any other, and those serving in the Navy have this opportunity. Football is known far and wide, but don’t sleep on the Navy basketball team. The rivalry of Army vs. Navy basketball, the grand history, and a legendary baller who almost took a different route are all a part of the history of Midshipmen. Especially for those who serve, the Navy basketball schedule is always a sought-after focus of sports information for the year. Get to know a bit more about the squad and how to join the team.
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Is There a Navy Basketball Team?For those of you asking, "Does the Navy have a basketball team?" the answer is yes. The United States Naval Academy has a basketball team that allows those attending to compete in the sport. Navy basketball players go by the name “Midshipmen,” they wear Navy blue and gold on their uniforms, and they're part of the Patriot League at the NCAA Division I level. Their home court is called Alumni Hall, which can be found in Annapolis, Maryland. The Navy Midshipmen are known for their tenacity and have made several appearances at the NCAA tournament. This includes the 1947, 1953, 1954, 1959, 1960, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1994, 1997, and 1998 seasons. So far, the highest achievement made by the Men’s Navy basketball team is becoming the pre-tournament champions in 1913, though they also advanced to the Elite Eight in the 1947, 1954, and 1986 seasons. The Navy Midshipmen men's basketball team isn’t the most illustrious program in the history of the sport (probably because they have bigger things to worry about than running the perfect press or triangle office, such as defending America). But there may also be something else to it. You can’t be taller than 80 inches to join the Navy. They have their reasons, but being tall in the world of basketball is kind of important. Sure, there’s “small ball,” and several notable players, including Muggsy Bogues, Spud Webb, and Red Klotz, to name a few, have succeeded in the sport. Most elite players, however, are giants among men. Such would become the case for the Navy basketball team’s greatest player that almost never was. While his career would take a drastic turn from defending the country, he would go on to be one of the most prolific players the NBA has ever seen.
David “The Admiral” RobinsonDavid Robinson was a Navy brat who followed in the footsteps of his father. He began attending the United States Naval Academy and joined the Navy Midshipmen after his high school graduation in 1983. Previously, he did great in athletics... except for basketball. Being 5’ 9”, it’s a bit understandable. But as fate would have it, the undersized 16-year-old hit a growth spurt. Like a huge growth spurt. The man grew to be 6’ 6” before hitting 19 years of age and actually had to be given an exemption to continue his path in the Navy. The branch did it because they thought he wouldn’t grow anymore. An honest mistake anyone could have made, and make it they did because Robinson would go on to become a 7’ 1” powerhouse on his way to leading the team to a record of 87-40 during his four seasons. He is widely considered the best baller to come from the Midshipmen, earning several awards - most notably, the Naismith College Player of the Year award in 1987. This would cause problems for Robinson, who was set on becoming a Sailor. The NBA wasn’t part of the plan. But as his height restricted him and opportunities came through professional basketball, he would go on to make a name for himself in another route. Though he wasn’t forced to quit, there were still limitations in his service. Robinson would go on to become an engineer and was drafted into the NBA by the San Antonio Spurs. Of course, they had to wait two years for him to fulfill his duties as a Sailor first. But it was well worth the wait. During his time in Alamo City, he became a two-time NBA champion, 10-time NBA All-Star, earned the NBA MVP award in 1995, and more. Robinson was also a part of the 1992 "Dream Team," winning gold at the Summer Olympics, a competition he would also win gold at four years later. Robinson earned his nickname “The Admiral” for obvious reasons and retired from the NBA in 2003. Ultimately, he would be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the 2009 class.
How To Join the Navy Basketball TeamTo be a part of the team, you’re going to need to attend the United States Naval Academy. Additionally, you’re going to need to meet the right requirements for eligibility, including:
- Requirements set by the NCAA as well as the Naval Academy in regard to academic and physical benchmarks.
- But just because you qualify, that doesn’t mean you’re in. Compete at a try-out and make the cut.
Suggested read:The Army Navy Game Is a Rivalry Unlike Any Other
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