Former NBA pro to raise $250m fund(2)

David Robinson, an all-star centre for the San Antonio Spurs basketball team and longtime Texas philanthropist, will team with a former Goldman Sachs banker to invest in “socially conscious” businesses

He graduated from the US Naval Academy with a degree in mathematics, earned two championships and a most valuable player award in the National Basketball Association, and has run a charitable foundation since his mid-20s. Now, David Robinson is getting into the private equity game.

Together with former Goldman Sachs investment banker Daniel Bassichis, Robinson, 41, plans to spend the next three to six months raising money for a $250 million fund that will be invested in businesses that benefit the inner city, according to wire reports. His celebrity, Robinson said in San Antonio on Friday, “gives the fund instant recognition.”

According to the San Antonio Express-News, the fund will be dual-headquartered in San Antonio and New York, and Bassichis, who left Goldman Sachs to manage the fund, said on Thursday from San Antonio that several “major New York financial insitutions and hedge funds” would be investing in the new fund, which still has not been given a name. Additionally, the Express-News says, Peter Ho, the owner of the San Antonio Spurs, may invest in the fund.

Robinson has been doing philanthropic work since early in his professional basketball career. In 1992 he and his wife created the David Robinson Foundation, and his most significant donation came in 2001, when he contributed $9 million to found the Carver Academy, a private elementary school that awards scholarships to most of its students.

This won’t be the first private equity fund to capitalize on the name of a high-profile NBA star. In 1998 Magic Johnson teamed with Canyon Capital Realty Advisors to form the Canyon Johnson Urban Fund, which now has nearly $1 billion in capital committed to revitalizing under-served urban markets around the country. CJUF closed its second fund, on $600 million, in 2005.

Reportedly, Bassichis said that the fund’s name will include the word “Admiral”—Robinson’s nickname as a player.