The Twin Towers
Robinson's chances for an NBA championship improved greatly in 1997 when the Spurs, after a disappointing 1996-97 season with Robinson sidelined by injury, drafted seven-footer Tim Duncan, a highly regarded center from Wake Forest. Quickly dubbed the "Twin Towers," Robinson and Duncan dominated under the basket on both ends of the court. Yet despite the team's regained success, Robinson struggled personally with his changing role on the team. For the first time in his NBA career, he was asked to step aside from the center focus of the team to support Duncan as the team's new go-to man. Despite the blow to his pride and a decline in his playing time and numbers, Robinson accepted his new place, for which he earned the praise of the sports press and fans alike.
The following season the Spurs finally reached the NBA finals, beating the New York Knicks in five games to win the 1999 championship. It appeared that Robinson had finally quieted those who thought him to be too soft, especially come playoff time. In 2000 the Spurs lost in the first round of the NBA playoffs, primarily because Duncan was out with an injury. During the summer of 2000 Robinson cut short his vacation in Hawaii, returning early to talk Duncan into foregoing his free agent option of moving to another team. When Duncan re-signed with the Spurs, Robinson was given much of the credit. In 2002 Robinson announced that he would retire following the 2002-03 season.