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YouTube Gold: Oscar Robertson

Overshadowed by contemporaries and later players but still an amazing talent

Oscar Robertson Throwing Ball Behind His Back
Oscar Robertson Throwing Ball Behind His Back

Oscar Robertson is one of the guys who tend to get overshadowed and caught up in recency bias. But he was a phenomenal basketball player.

Born in Promise Land, although he is often said to have been born in nearby Charlotte, Tennessee, Robertson’s family moved to Indianapolis, Indiana when he was still a toddler.

Robertson attended Crispus Attucks High School, a segregated Black high school, and helped lead his team to state championships in his junior and senior seasons (in his sophomore year, Crispus Attucks lost to Milan, the team that the movie Hoosiers is based upon).

At Cincinnati, he lead the Bearcats to two Final Fours, averaged 33.8 ppg for his career and set a ton of records.

He did not win a national championship though. The presence of Bill Russell’s Boston Celtics made it hard to do in the NBA with the Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings), though in 1962 he averaged a triple double - and then did it four more years in a row.

Eventually he was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks where he and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar helped lead the team to the 1971 NBA championship.

He is also the subject of the most beautiful, poetic basketball picture ever taken. Nothing has even come close to this.