Oscar Robertson, nicknamed "The Big O," was born November
24, 1938 on a farm in Charlotte, Tennessee. When he was four years
old, his family moved to Indianapolis, Indiana. 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 decided to attend the University
of Cincinnati. While on the UC team from 1957 to 1960, he led the
nation in scoring. He was a member of the U.S. Olympic Basketball
Team in 1960 which won a gold medal in Rome.
After leaving UC in 1960, he became a player in the NBA with the Cincinnati
Royals. For the 1961-1962 season, Robertson achieved a "triple-double"
average, which means his averages for points, assists and rebounds
were in double figures. This accomplishment 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.
Oscar Robertson remains one of the most important 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. Robertson currently resides with
his family in Cincinnati.
To learn more about Oscar Robertson, consult the following
100 Who Made a Difference: Greater
Cincinnatians Who Made a Mark on the 20th Century
By Barry M. Horstman
General f920.07714 H819 R.R
Barry M. Horstman gives a two-page overview of Oscar Robertson's
life in this 1999 book. View catalog recordRequest slip
Mss 1 AT, Interview 23
In this 1980 interview, Oscar Robertson discusses the great need for
employment opportunities for African Americans. As the head of a local
construction company, he understands the problems faced by African
American job applicants. Request slip
Sources Used for Biographical Sketch:
Horstman, Barry M.100 Who
Made a Difference: Greater Cincinnatians Who Made a Mark on the
20th Century, General f920.07714 H819 R.R., Cincinnati History Library and Archives, Cincinnati Museum Center.