Oscar “The Big O” Robertson is one of the most well-rounded NBA players of all-time. The former 6'5, 205-pound point guard was born in Charlotte, Tennessee but spent most of his childhood in Indianapolis. He led his high school team to a record of 31-1 in 1955, winning the Indiana state championship. The next year, in 1956, he led them to another state championship, finishing with a perfect record of 31-0. Robertson would go on to attend college at the University of Cincinnati where he would play 3 seasons. Robertson was drafted in 1960, selected 1st overall to the Cincinnati Royals, who are now the Sacramento Kings. His nickname originated from his birth name as well as his ability to score offensively, he was practically instant offense.
Oscar Robertson's Career:
Robertson not only was an NBA legend, his collegiate career was extremely impressive as well. He was an All-American and the NCAA scoring leader all 3 years he played for the University of Cincinnati. During his stint with the Bearcats, he led them to a 79-9 record and won several College Player of the Year awards. Over the course of his career at Cincinnati, he averaged 33.8 points and 15.2 rebounds per game, as a guard!! Can you think of any other player to put up college stats like this?!
From the day he set foot in the NBA, Robertson made his impact felt, he had what may have been the best rookie season any NBA athlete has ever had. In 1961, he won Rookie of the Year, made the All-Star team, won the All-Star Game's Most Valuable Player award, led the league in assists, and made the All-NBA First Team. These are accolades somebody in the prime of their NBA career would dream of receiving, it speaks to how talented Robertson was.
After making the All-Star game his rookie year, he went on to make it 11 years straight after that, retiring a 12-time All-Star, winning 3 All-Star Game Most Valuable Player awards. He won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award in 1964, averaging 31.4 points, 11 assists, and 9.9 rebounds per game. He finished his 14-year NBA career playing in a total of 1040 games, nearly averaging a triple-double, at 25.7 point, 9.5 assists, and 7.5 rebounds per game.
The Royals made the playoffs in 6 out of his 10 seasons there and the Bucks made the playoffs in 2 of the 4 seasons he played with them, winning an NBA Championship. In 1971, Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar helped lead the Bucks to the NBA Finals where they swept the Wes Unseld and Gus Johnson-led Baltimore Bullets.
Many of the Sacramento Kings team records are still held by Oscar Robertson. He still holds franchise records for; minutes played, field goals, free throws, points, assists, and player efficiency rating. It’s incredible his records still have not been broken, considering he played for them over 50 years ago! Robertson also owned the NBA's single-season triple-double record, with 41, until a few years when Russell Westbrook broke it in 2017, with 42.
Robertson was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame twice, once as a member of the 1960 USA Olympic basketball team in 2010 and once for his NBA career in 1980. He also had his number retired at his alma mater Cincinnati and for 2 of his professional teams, the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Sacramento Kings. These all happened to be different numbers as well, he wore 12 for Cincinnati, 1 for the Bucks, and 14 for the Kings.
He was truly a once in a generational type of talent, being able to dominate in almost every facet of the game, Robertson has given so much to the sport, he is still alive today at age 81. "The Big O" has stood the test of time in the record books, proving he was a transcendent player. Where does Oscar rank on your all-time point guard list?