Oscar Robertson (The Big O) has made an indelible impression on the game of basketball and on American society, off the basketball court as well as on.
At every level -- high school, college, the Olympics, and the NBA -- The Big O set new standards of excellence and changed the way the game was played. He is the NBA's all-time leader in triple-double games (points, rebounds and assists) for a career with 181 and a single season with 41, and in rebounds by a guard.
As President of the NBA Players Association, Robertson filed a class action anti-trust lawsuit in 1970 on behalf of his colleagues, seeking to prevent an NBA merger with the ABA until issues regarding the reserve clause, the draft, and other restrictions on player movement were resolved. As a result of a 1976 settlement known as the Oscar Robertson Rule, NBA players became the first to gain free agency. In 1992, he was one of five founders of the National Basketball Retired Players Association, dedicated to improving pension benefits and medical care for an earlier generation of players, and served as its first president from 1992-1998.
For his achievements in both college and professional basketball, Robertson was named "Player of the Century" by the National Association of Basketball Coaches in 2000. He was one of the first five inductees into the NABC's Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. He has been enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame since 1979 and was inducted into the International Basketball (FIBA) Hall of Fame in 2009. A street in his hometown of Indianapolis now bears his name, and an eight-foot high statue stands on the University of Cincinnati campus as a monument. He holds an honorary doctorate in humane letters from the University of Cincinnati as well as its Lifetime Achievement Award for Entrepreneurship and its William Howard Taft Medal, the highest honor it bestows on an alumnus. Robertson is also honored by Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce as a Great Living Cincinnatian.
He is the author and publisher of "The Art of Basketball," the definitive guide to fundamental skills development for boys and girls of all ages. His autobiography, "The Big O: My Life, My Times, My Game," was published in 2003. He has contributed bylined essays on basketball to The New York Times and TIME Magazine. At University of Cincinnati, he was a three-time first team All-American, the first player to lead the NCAA in scoring three straight years, and the first to win National College Player of the Year honors three times. (In 1998, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association renamed its men's college Player of the Year Award the Oscar Robertson Trophy.) He co-captained the undefeated 1960 U.S. Olympic gold medal team. During his 14-year NBA career, The Big O led his teams to 10 playoff appearances including an NBA championship with the Bucks in 1971. He was the NBA's Rookie of the Year in 1961 and Most Valuable Player in 1964. He was a 12-time NBA All-Star and was voted Most Valuable Player in three All-Star games. In 1961-62, he became the only player in NBA history ever to average a "triple double" for an entire season.
Since his retirement, The Big O has been active as an entrepreneur, broadcaster, and author. He serves as President of OR Solutions, founder of Big O Foods, and as general partner in Oscar Robertson Media Ventures. Mr. Robertson is involved in numerous charitable and community activities, including the NBA Legends Foundation, the Boys Club of New York, and the National Kidney Foundation. The Oscar and Yvonne Robertson Scholarship Fund at the University of Cincinnati annually provides three different kinds of scholarships to students. The Robertsons also serve as co-chairs of UC's $1 billion capital campaign.