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Thu, 11.24.1938

One of basketballs best, Oscar Robertson

Oscar Robertson

Oscar Robertson was born on this date in 1938. He was a Black basketball player and administrator.

Born on a farm in Charlotte, TN., his family moved to Indianapolis when he was four years old.  Nicknamed "The Big O," Robertson began playing basketball as a child using a tin can in place of a ball.  Later, when he had a regular basketball, he would dribble it constantly.  In high school, he led his basketball team to two Indiana state titles. Following high school, Robertson attended the University of Cincinnati. While on the U.C. team, from 1957 to 1960 and led the nation in scoring.  He was a member of the U.S. Olympic Basketball Team in his senior year, which won a gold medal in Rome.

After leaving U.C. in 1960, he joined the NBA’s Cincinnati Royals. For the 1961-1962 season, Robertson achieved a "triple-double" average for points, assists, and rebounds in double figures each game.  Since this accomplishment, it has never been matched.  Robertson continued to play with the Royals for ten years before being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks. Also, in the late 1960s, he served as president of the NBA Players Association.  In Milwaukee, he helped lead the Bucks to an NBA championship in 1971. Robertson retired from the Bucks in 1974.

Robertson remains one of the most significant names in basketball history and has received many honors. He is a member of the National Basketball Hall of Fame and has been named one of ESPN’s 50 Greatest Athletes of the Century (image shown). Robertson currently resides with his family in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Historical Society Library,
A guide to 20th Century African American Resources
1301 Western Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45203
Phone: 513-287-7030
Fax: 513-287-7095

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