Memories of a drop step and a reverse pivot materializing into a sweet-looking 12-footer and man-to-man conversations are the reasons Glenn Robinson III is a basketball player and philanthropist today.
Growing up in Gary, Ind., Robinson III, with his family, attended Indiana Pacers' or Chicago Bulls' games to see the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks and San Antonio Spurs to see his father, 1994 No. 1 draft pick Glen Robinson, who competed for these teams, play the game he cherishes the most: NBA basketball. Now an NBA shooting guard and small forward for the Philadelphia 76ers, Robinson III always had his sights set on being just like his father, who is a two-time NBA All-Star and a career 20-point-a-game scorer himself. But it was the invaluable time, albeit sporadic, that he spent with his father that made him see the big picture of not only scoring the basketball but helping those feel that exact kind of fatherly love that is quintessential for the development of little boys, ultimately producing The Ari Foundation (Angels Are Real Indeed) -- a 501(c)3 that centers around "empowering fathers and providing resources for fatherless children and families."
Robinson III, 26, said gleaning knowledge from his father at an early was huge, as it proved to pay dividends.
"It was crazy," Robinson III said. "It allowed me to see things. It allowed me to grow. Him being a professional athlete, obviously, he had some nice things. I was able to see the cars. So I wasn't overly fascinated when I did get my first contract. I didn't spend a crazy amount of money on dumb stuff. it allowed me to grow."
As Robinson III grew -- today the 76er is 6'6" -- as an adolescent and teenager, he would visit his father's home in Milwaukee, Indiana and Atlanta, among other places in the summer, only to work out, as Robinson as a then-NBA player was adamant about training, eating clean and putting in work on the basketball court. Grilled chicken and vegetables was a constant on the menu after strenuous workouts, though this wasn't Robinson III's preference.
Still, watching the gregarious Michael Jordan and his father go for 40-plus in virtuoso performances in the late-90s was cool, but Robinson IIl, rather, was enraptured by the free basketball camps his father hosted, which included free lunches for the kids attending.
What were all these lessons for? The cooking taught Robinson III how to survive at the University of Michigan, where he was a player 2012-2014, while his father's giving personality opened up a whole new world of possibilities.
"But now I do the same thing, and I was prepared before I got to college to start cooking myself some chicken breasts, vegetables, so I was able to take some knowledge."
Robinson would go on to be drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves before playing for the Sixers, Pacers, the NBA G League's Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the Detroit Pistons, the Golden State Warriors and, once again, the Sixers, where he is an aggressive 3 (three-pointer) and D (defensive) contributor off the bench.
Playing the game of basketball, like his father once did at the highest level, is a dream come true for Robinson III. But the three-point shooter looked beyond basketball to fuel his other passion, including his young daughter and a candid conversation with his father and the meaning of life.
"When I had my daughter, it really gave me an opportunity to see one, how important in raising your children matters, how important that is," Robinson III said. "And every day my daughter is growing -- like every day matters with them. I noticed that being a son of an NBA player, the No. 1 pick, I had the same name as him, so I always looked down just because I was the III. I was his son and he was the No. 1 pick so, I learned to shut that out and follow my own footsteps and then he would always tell me I was better than him at his age. My mentor things that I do, is better than he was."
That's because the younger Robinson made things happen off the court at a higher level. Robinson III's organization promulgated when he was playing for the Warriors in San Francisco in 2019 when Robinson's foundation organized a turkey drive in November. A few months later in February, there was a father-daughter dance. The foundation, which is named after his daughter, Ari, also coordinates with schools in an effort to provide resources to children without fathers.
On the radar next for the foundation is another turkey drive for fatherless families in Gary, Ind. on Sunday, when the organization will give out 100 free turkeys to families.
"Our mission is to empower fathers with essential resources that will allow them to be the best dads they can be," wrote on the Ari Foundation's website. "We will also provide assistance to fatherless children and families."
Two things are for sure: Robinson III provides assistance for the Sixers in a quest to win the first championship since 1983, but the pensive kid from Indiana does the same when it comes to children without fathers.
For more information on the foundation, visit https://arifoundation.org/.