"The Big O
great, considered one of the best all-around players of all-time. Could score
, and rebound
Oscar Robertson (DOB: 11/24/1938 in Charlotte, Tennessee) had already achieved great success before entering the NBA. He won the College Player of the Year three times while at the University of Cincinnati. He also won a gold medal as part of the U.S. men's basketball team in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome.
Robertson stayed in Cincinnati, as the NBA's Cincinnati Royals chose him as their one allowed "territorial pick". He didn't take much time to warm up to the NBA, scoring 30.5 points (3rd in the league), en route to winning Rookie of the Year in the 1960-1961 season. He also led the league in assists.
"The Big O" was the first real "big guard" at 6'5", two decades before Magic Johnson.
His 2nd season, 1961-1962, is the season that he will most be remembered for in the annals of sports. He AVERAGED a triple double, with 30.8 points per game, 12.5 rebounds per game, and a league-high 11.4 assists per game. No one before, or since, has ever accomplished that feat.
Robertson stayed with Cincinnati for 10 seasons (through 1969-1970), leading the league in assists 6 times and scoring once. He won the NBA's MVP award after 1963-1964.
To the surprise of many, Robertson was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks after 1969-1970. In Milwaukee, teamed with a young Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Robertson was able to be a part of an NBA championship team for the first and only time of his career, as the Bucks swept the Baltimore Bullets in the NBA Finals, following the 1970-1971 season.
Robertson played in Milwaukee for several more seasons, retiring after 1973-1974.
In his 14 season NBA career, Robertson compiled 26710 points (25.7 points per game), 7804 rebounds (7.5 per game), and a then-record 9887 assists (9.5 per game). He shot an impressive 83.8% from the free throw line as well.
Robertson was a 12-time All-Star, and won the MVP of the All-Star Game 3 times. He also was president of the NBA Players Association from 1963-1974, and some of his actions in that capacity helped lead to a rise in player salaries and free agency rights.
In 1979, Robertson was elected to the National Basketball Hall of Fame and was named to the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996.
In 1999, ESPN's SportsCentury selected Robertson as #36 on their list of the 100 greatest North American athletes of the 20th century.