Just some thoughts:
If one really knows basketball, all that has to be said is the “Big O” and they know.
And if you don’t know, then I am not sure you are a true basketball fan or a fan with knowledge of the history of the game. The “Big O” was Oscar Robertson.
Every so often, I am of the opinion that the greats of the past should be brought up before the current. I can remember as a small boy standing behind the old coal stove at the small grocery store in the community where I grew up and the “old-timers” would talk of such baseball players as Hornsby, Mattheson, Ruth, Dickey, Ott, Dizzy Dean or in basketball, George Mikan and many others. As kids, we knew these names even though they were not from our time. Not so sure about today’s fans.
First ten seasons in professional basketball with the Cincinnati Royals he averaged 29.3 points a game. “He is so great he scares me,” said Red Auerbach; and if you don’t know that name you don’t really know basketball.
In 6 seasons, he averaged better than 30 points a game.
For his career, he averaged 10 assists per game.
In two seasons, he was his team’s leading rebounder.
He graduated 16th in his high school class of 171 at Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis.
His great grandfather was once a slave and, at one time, was the oldest living person in the United States (age 116)
“We were poor, very poor, we just didn’t know it.”
A legend in Indiana high school basketball in the mid 1950s’
Never played on a team with a white player until the Indiana-Kentucky high school all- star game
In college at University of Cincinnati, all 3 years, he averaged 33.8 points a game (no 3 pointers. Plus freshmen at that time were not eligible for varsity play)
When graduating, he held 14 NCAA records.
Sophomore year in college he once scored 56 points in a tournament game at Madison Square Garden.
All-American every year he was eligible to be selected while in college.
Member of the 1960 United States Olympic team. Some say it was the greatest team ever assembled.
Voted one of the 50 greatest players of all time - an understatement
Eighty-one year old Cyril Birge, who had played on his high school state championship team, and went on to officiate more high school basketball games than maybe any other official in the state of Indiana once said of Robertson: “If there’s a better ballplayer than Oscar Robertson, it’d have to be Jesus himself.”
"But Oscar is the best all-round basketball player ever. He makes it look so easy. He's not fancy, just fundamental. He is going to take the shot he wants, not the one you want him to take and isn't going to shoot further out than fifteen feet. When he was younger he could have scored a hundred points a game if he went for the shot every time instead of averaging ten assists a game."
Quote from Dick Barnett--Life on the Run--Bill Bradley
I am of the opinion that every generation should have some knowledge of the accomplishments and abilities of the generation before them. By the way, I don’t mean just in sports. That “old man” you see sitting somewhere, looking like he does not know sic’em from go get’um, just may have helped save the very country you now live in. It would be good to know more about him and his past.
All I can say is that Robertson was something else, and he did it without a lot of fan fare, trash-talking, turkey strutting, chest pounding, rooster walking, etc… In my opinion the pro game certainly has gone another direction since the days of Oscar Robertson.
February 18, 2011