A 12-time NBA All-Star, Oscar Robertson was as "Big O" as it got. Even against Big D—and he was often triple-teamed—Robertson scored prolifically, almost extravagantly. Here's a look at the basketball legend through the years.
February 06, 2009
1 of 14AP
Oscar Robertson first rose to prominence at the University of Cincinnati, where he averaged 34 points per game in his three seasons with the Bearcats.
2 of 14Neil Leifer for Sports Illustrated
Oscar Robertson set 14 NCAA and 19 school records during his three seasons at Cincinnati, leading the Bearcats to a 79-9 overall record and two Final Four appearances.
3 of 14Neil Leifer for Sports Illustrated
Oscar Robertson spent his first 10 years in the league with the Cincinnati Royals and was named an All-Star every season.
4 of 14Neil Leifer for Sports Illustrated
Though Oscar Robertson's tenure was marked with personal achievements -- most noticeably in 1961-62 when he averaged a triple-double -- the Royals never advanced past the Eastern Conference Finals.
5 of 14Neil Leifer for Sports Illustrated
Oscar Robertson won the 1963-64 NBA MVP award and became the only player other than Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain to win it from 1960 to 1968.
6 of 14James Drake for Sports Illustrated
In 1970, the Royals made a surprising move, trading Oscar Robertson to the Milwaukee Bucks for Flynn Robinson and Charlie Paulk. The move teamed The Big O with Lew Alcindor, the game's top young center.
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Bob Dandridge (10), Lew Alcindor (33), Greg Smith (top right), Jon McClocklin (14) and Oscar Robertson (1) pose with Milwaukee Bucks coach Larry Costello during the 1970-71 season.
8 of 14Walter Iooss Jr. for Sports Illustrated
Oscar Robertson made headlines off the court in 1971 with his landmark lawsuit, filed by the Player's Association against the league. The Big O was the Player's Union president at the time and the suit challenged the ABA-NBA merger, the legality of the college draft and the NBA's reserve clause that prohibited free agency. The case, which took six years to settle, led to a merger of the two leagues, the signing of more free agents and eventually higher salaries.
9 of 14Heinz Kluetmeier for Sports Illustrated
The combination of Robertson and Alcindor was unstoppable as the Bucks went 12-2 in the playoffs and won the NBA title after sweeping the Baltimore Bullets in the 1971 Finals. It was the first championship of Oscar Robertson's career.
10 of 14David N. Berkwitz for Sports Illustrated
This 1971 Oscar Robertson trading card is on display at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.
11 of 14Andy Hayt for Sports Illustrated
Oscar Robertson retired in 1974 with career marks of 26,710 points, 9,887 assists and 7,804 rebounds collected in 1,040 games. He still showed his touch during the 1987 Legends game in Seattle.
12 of 14Walter Iooss Jr. for Sports Illustrated
In Dec. 1999, Oscar Robertson was named one of Sports Illustrated's Athletes of the Century.
13 of 14AP
Robertson's legend lives on in many ways, including the Oscar Robertson Trophy, given annually to the outstanding men's college basketball player as chosen by the United States Basketball Writers Association. In this shot, Robertson looks on as Texas freshman Kevin Durant gives his mom a kiss after receiving the award in 2007.
14 of 14John W. McDonough for Sports Illustrated
Oscar Robertson, Jerry Lucas, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, Patrick Ewing, and Danny Manning all received awards as part of the Top 15 All-Time March Madness Players in April 2013.
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