Over the course of its 75-year history, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has had many great players who have built their legacies on their prowess in one or more aspects of the game – scoring, rebounding, assisting, and/or defending (blocks and steals). Many historians and fans however agree that it is the number of NBA World Championships that a player has won which distinguishes them from their peers. This is evident in the list of individuals often considered to be on the Mt. Rushmore of basketball – Bill Russell (11), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6), Michael Jordan (6), Magic Johnson (5), and LeBron James (4). While the number of NBA championships (and championship rings) is an accurate metric for ranking players, they do not always accurately measure the impact that a player has had on the league. This couldn’t be better exemplified as it is in the case of Milwaukee Bucks legend Oscar Robertson.
How many rings does Oscar Robinson win? Oscar Robinson won just one ring during his NBA career. The former Bucks point guard won his only NBA championship with Milwaukee after a decade of heartaches with the Cincinnati Royals. The fact that he won his championship ring in the first season that he was paired with another star (Lew Alcindor/Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) proves that the former first-overall pick would have won a lot more had he had the same environment in his prime.
How Many Times Did Oscar Robertson Go to Finals?
Oscar Robertson went to the NBA Finals twice – in his first and last year with the Milwaukee Bucks (1971 and 1974). The 12-time NBA All-Star joined the Bucks from the Royals ahead of their 1970-71 season in arguably one of the biggest trades in NBA history, he helped the team improve to a 66-16 record in just his first season.
The feat booked their ticket to the playoffs where the Bucks dispatched the San Francisco Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers in five games in the western conference semifinals and finals respectively before sweeping the Baltimore Bullets 4-0 to clinch the title.
In his last season with the Bucks and in the NBA (1973-74), Robertson steered the Bucks to a 59-23 record (then a league-best) and turned back the clock to help the then three-time Midwest Division champions make their second run to the NBA finals where they lost to the Dave Cowens-led Boston Celtics in seven games.
How Many Years Did Oscar Robertson Average a Triple Double?
Oscar Robertson officially averaged a triple-double for one year (1961-62) with 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists. The six-time NBA assists leader however averaged a triple-double of 30.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 10.6 assists per game over his first five seasons in the NBA.
Below are Robertson’s averages from his first four seasons in the NBA:
1960-61 – 30.5 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 9.7 assists.
1961-62 – 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists.
1962-63 – 28.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 9.5 assists.
1963-64 – 31.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 11.0 assists.
What makes the 2018 NBA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient the original triple-double king in many people’s books is the fact that he just fell shy of recording four straight triple-double seasons in his first four years in the league – an achievement that is yet to be replicated.
Robertson’s 1961-62 campaign actually set two records – he became the NBA player to average a triple-double for a season and also set the record for the most regular season triple-doubles with 41. The two records lasted for well over five decades until former Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook broke them in his 2016-17 season by becoming the only other player to average a triple-double in a season and to register 42 triple-double games in a season.
What Is the Oscar Robertson Rule?
The Oscar Robertson Rule, which was established in 1976 as a result of the landmark case Robertson v. The National Basketball Association abolished compensation for teams that lost free agents. The case was an antitrust suit that sought to halt the then-impending merger of the NBA and former rival league ABA (the American Basketball Association) and included Robertson’s name since he was then the president of the Players Association.
The rule and the landmark case are largely credited with creating free agency, which was first introduced in the league in 1988. Prior to the Oscar Robertson Rule, players were barred from holding contractual negotiations with other teams once their deal with the franchise that drafted them lapsed.
This essentially meant that teams could retain their rights over a player in perpetuity without offering them pay that was commensurate with their experience and stature. It was also not uncommon for teams to withhold players’ back pay since the NBA was not the global phenomenon that it is today and was therefore not as profitable.
Robertson’s efforts ensured that the NBA-ABA merger was put off until the above-mentioned issues were addressed by tying players’ interests to those of franchises and their owners who stood to gain the most from the merger. It also ensured that players who met criteria like a certain number of years of service earned better salaries.
If the merger had gone through as the NBA had intended, it would have been highly likely that critical issues like back pay and contractual flexibility would have been swept under the rug or at the very best postponed.
What Was Oscar Robertson Famous For?
Oscar Robertson is famous for being one of the best players in the NBA and the original triple-double king. The 1964 NBA MVP is also renowned for his off-court legacy for his efforts in advocating for players’ rights and social activism to better the lives of the disenfranchised in his hometown in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The three-time NBA All-Star Game MVP is also arguably responsible for popularizing the idea of “big” point-guards – a trend that has since carried forward with the likes of Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson and four-time NBA champion LeBron James.
As a 6 ‘5 guard, Robertson set many records including the most triple-double games with 181 (which has since been surpassed by Westbrook) and being the first player in NBA history to average more than 10 assists per game. The nine-time All-NBA First Team honoree was also the first guard to average over 10 rebounds a game and was once the NBA’s all-time leader in made free throws and career assists.
Robertson had an equally stellar college career and is recognized as one of the best players in NCAA history. As the standout in the University of Cincinnati’s basketball team (the Cincinnati Bearcats), the three-time NCAA season scoring leader set 14 NCAA records and won numerous accolades including 10 College Player of the Year awards