The All Alphabet league presents a double header, today.
Point Guard - Oscar Robertson
The great Oscar Robertson is a fine lead guard for the R Team, a long and athletic star in a team of long athletic stars.
The Big O was famous for being the only man to average a triple double over the course of a season before Russell Westbrook was given carte blanche over the Thunder’s offense a few years back. His 1962 line of 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists is almost as astonishing now as it was back then, and surpasses anything his modern counterpart achieved in Oklahoma. Robertson was less than a rebound or assist from repeating his famous feat on another 4 occasions.
Over the course of his 14 year career, the 1964 league MVP averaged 25.7 points, 9.5 assists and 7.5 rebounds. Steals were not recorded until his final season, but it’s said that Robertson averaged at least 3 steals per game through his prime. Whilst he has famously rallied against the modern trend towards the 3 pointer, it’s conceivable that the career 83.8% free throw shooter would have been at least a reasonable shot from range, had the arc existed in his playing days.
Robertson was a mainstay with some excellent Cincinnati teams through the 1960’s, winning All Star and All NBA (9 times first team) status in each of his 10 seasons as a Royal. Despite sustained individual success, he didn’t win an NBA title until he paired with a young Lew Alcindor in Milwaukee, dominating the league to claim the crown in 1971.
Robertson’s size and athleticism at the point position was rare in his era and allowed him to physically overwhelm opponents in much the same way that Magic Johnson would two decades later. His mid range jumper opened up a driving game that was nigh on impossible to stop. That size also allowed him play making opportunities that other point guards didn’t have, and Robertson exploited his size recording many of his assists by simply passing over the defense, on his way to leading the league in assists on 6 occasions.
The 12 time All Star & 11 time All NBA selection stayed involved in the game for many years as a broadcaster. Throughout his playing days, and into his post career life, Robertson has campaigned for what is right. As President of the NBA Players Association, he led the push for the league to recognise an early form of free agency. Post career, he’s been a highly visible campaigner for better opportunities and living standards amongst the African American communities.