Microsoft Corporation

09/01/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/01/2021 08:22

Hoop dreams: Microsoft’s Kim Robins never stopped believing he would play basketball in the Paralympics

Significant research in Australia about neural tube defects paralleled Robins' young years. In 1989, Dr. Fiona Stanley and university professor Carol Bower pioneered additional research between a lack of folate, or folic acid, in a mother's diet and neural tube defects. In 1992, Kim was a poster child for an education and awareness campaign by The Telethon Kids Institute, a research institute founded by Dr. Stanley, which resulted in a substantial decrease in the number of children in Australia born with neural tube defects. And in 2009, the Australian government required folate to be added to bread-making flour.

When Kim was about 6, he had a difficult time at school. 'He was sitting in the corner and wouldn't talk to anybody,' says his father, Wayne Robins. 'But when a tutor came in to help, he said what Kim needed was not tutoring, but self-esteem, and that sport was a way to introduce him to that.'

Soon after, his parents took Kim to watch a basketball game played by wheelchair athletes. The little boy was 'stunned' and thrilled, Wayne Robins said. 'He'd never seen so many people in wheelchairs. And he'd never seen somebody sit down and take off their prosthetic leg and then get in a wheelchair and play basketball.'

It was love at first sight. From then on, Kim played basketball, but also participated in other sports: tennis, track and field, swimming. All of them resulted in a 180-degree change in his self-confidence.

'We never gave up and Kim didn't give up either,' says Debbie Robins. 'He's got a pretty strong spirit.'

'I don't think it's easy on any family to have a child born with a disability,' Kim Robins says. 'Obviously, there were some things that were different for me, like I needed more medical treatment than other kids,' he says. 'But my parents always challenged me and encouraged me to pursue sports because they could see how much I enjoyed it.'

And it grew to be more than enjoyment - it became like oxygen for Robins. He kept playing basketball and tennis, winning titles in both sports. But training in both became too rigorous, so at 18, he chose to concentrate on basketball, mainly because he liked the team aspect of the sport.

In 2007, Robins became a member of the Perth Wheelcats, a team that plays in the Australian National Wheelchair Basketball League. The Perth Wheelcats won the national championship from 2007-2010, and again in 2013 and 2014.

In addition to playing, Robins started college, ultimately earning a degree in sports science from Edith Cowan University in Perth, and later a master's degree in finance from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

His basketball career took him around the world, with some breaks in his college studies. He played in Italy and Spain and in 2012, moved to Germany to play professional wheelchair basketball in the Bundesliga, the country's national sports league, where he still plays today with the Munich Iguanas. Robins also continued to fly home to Australia for three months a year to play on teams when the Iguanas were not playing.

He joined the extended squad of the Australian Rollers, a senior men's wheelchair basketball team, in 2010, and became a permanent member in 2017. He helped the team advance to the 2018 International Wheelchair Basketball Federation World Championships in Hamburg, Germany, where the Rollers won the bronze medal.