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Home | SportsMakers | Oscar Robertson
Color: Beige and Brown
Food: Salads, was pork chops, collard greens, cornbread
Quote: N/A
Season: October
Vacation Destination: Colorado
Charlotte, Tennessee
Interview Description:

Biography |

Interview Date: 9/3/2016

Basketball player Oscar Robertson was born on November 24, 1938 in Charlotte, Tennessee to Mazell Bell Robertson and Bailey Robertson, Sr. During World War II, the family moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where Robertson, Sr. hoped to find factory work. Robertson attended Booker T. Washington School #17, where he played organized basketball for the first time, and then Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis. He was the star of the Attucks basketball team in 1955, when they became the first all-black high school to win a state championship in the United States, and in 1956, when they defended their title with an undefeated season. Robertson went on to attend the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he played varsity basketball from 1957 to 1960, led the nation in points per game in all three seasons, and became the all-time leading NCAA scorer by the end of his college career – twice leading the Bearcats to the NCAA Final Four. Robertson graduated from the University of Cincinnati with his B.S. degree in business in 1960.

At the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, he won a gold medal as co-captain of the U.S. men’s basketball team. That same year, Robertson was drafted by the Cincinnati Royals with the first pick of the NBA Draft. He won the NBA Rookie of the Year award after scoring 30.5 points per game and leading the league in assists. In his second NBA season, Robertson became the first and only player in history to average a triple-double, and also broke the single-season record for assists. He was selected to the All-NBA First Team in each of his first nine seasons with the Royals. In 1970, Robertson was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, where he played alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He won his only NBA title in 1971 with a series sweep of the Baltimore Bullets, and stayed with the Bucks until his retirement from basketball in 1974. Additionally, Robertson was the president of the National Basketball Association Players’ Association from 1965 to 1974, the first black man to head a nationwide labor union in professional sports. He achieved a successful settlement to the class-action case Robertson v. National Basketball Association in 1976. This settlement resulted in the Oscar Robertson Rule, the genesis of free agency in the NBA.

After retiring, Robertson started several businesses, including OR Solutions and Orchem, Inc. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980. Robertson co-founded the National Basketball Retired Players Association in 1992, is involved with the Boys Club of New York and the National Kidney Foundation, and began the Oscar & Yvonne Robertson Scholarship Fund to support minority students at the University of Cincinnati.

Robertson and his wife, Yvonne Crittenden, live in Cincinnati, Ohio. They have three daughters: Shana, Tia, and Mari.

Oscar Robertson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 3, 2016.

Speaker Bureau Notes: