Wendell P. Dabney      

Guide to African American Resources
at the Cincinnati History Library and Archives




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Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal










Oscar Robertson
  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 resources:

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 record   Request slip
Adeline Harris Collection
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:


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This online guide opened on February 10, 2004.