Indiana State University Newsroom

Oscar Robertson to speak at Indiana State Sept. 14

September 8, 2015

Indiana State University will kick off its 2015-16 University Speakers Series with an appearance by basketball legend Oscar Robertson Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. in Tilson Auditorium.

The Indianapolis native forever changed the game of basketball -- on the court and in the courtroom. Voted "Player of the Century" by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, he has also distinguished himself as a social activist, a labor leader, an international ambassador for basketball, a business owner, a mentor and teacher, and a philanthropist.

On the basketball court, the 6'5" Robertson set new standards of excellence at every level and is considered the greatest all-around player in the history of the game.

The first big point guard who could score from anywhere, rebound, pass, and play defense, Robertson created the template for such later NBA stars as Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. He was Rookie of the Year in 1961, Most Valuable Player in 1964, a 12-time All-Star, and MVP in three All-Star games. He is enshrined in the International Basketball (FIBA) Hall of Fame, the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, and twice in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, as an individual and as co-captain of the 1960 U.S. Olympic gold medalist team.

Robertson attended Crispus Attucks High School and the University of Cincinnati. In only his second NBA season with the Cincinnati Royals, in 1961-62, he set a record that still stands when he became the only player to average a "triple double" for an entire season (30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, 11.4 assists). He came within seven rebounds of averaging a triple-double for the 1963-64 season. He holds NBA records for triple doubles in a season (41) and a career (181), and in rebounds by a guard. He was the first player to lead the league in assists and scoring in the same season. He led the league in assists six times and free throw percentage twice, and is the only guard ever to lead his team in rebounding.

As the longest-serving president of the NBA Players Association from 1965-74, The Big O made an even more lasting impact on the game with a class action anti-trust lawsuit against the NBA, seeking changes in the draft and the league's reserve clause.

A 1976 legal settlement, known as the Oscar Robertson Rule, helped NBA players become the first professional athletes to achieve free agency, forever changing the balance of power in professional sports and leading to a new era of expansion, growth and prosperity for the NBA. Robertson was one of five co-founders of the NBA Retired Players Association and served as its first president from 1992-1998.

In 1997, when his daughter Tia's kidneys were failing, he made the assist of a lifetime by donating a kidney to her. He also became an advocate for kidney disease prevention, health and wellness, and organ transplantation on behalf of the National Kidney Foundation.

Robertson's appearance at Indiana State is free and open to the public.

Photo: - Oscar Robertson

Media contact and writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or