Written by: Luis Alis
And that is precisely one of The Big O’s most impressive achievements. Just take a moment and let it sink. Can you picture a modern player capable of averaging double-digits for scoring, rebounds and assists for a whole season? For those of you shaky at math, that means that if Robertson fell short one day with a, say, 8 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists performance, he would make it up the next game with a 12 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists effort. It is that brutal. No modern player can put that kind of reliability together for a whole season. Not even an overcaffeinated LeBron James clone. And it wasn’t a fluke, for that season was sandwiched between nearly triple double season average performances in an era where the criteria for assists was more strict than today.
Robertson balled in a very different world, however. Born in 1938 in Charlotte, Tennesse, Robertson played college basketball at University of Cincinnati, where he averaged an astonishing 33.8 points per game before pocketing gold as an outstanding member of the 1960 undefeated Olympic team. The Big O battled the big R of the era, racism. As only the sixth black player in the history of his University, he was forced to sleep in college dorms, separated from the hotel reserved for the white players.
Drafted and hired by the Cincinnati Royals (now Sacramento Kings) in 1960, O-Train took his team to the playoffs in consecutive years. When the Royals stopped winning, they traded Robertson to the Milwaukee Bucks in 1970, where he joined forces with a young Lew Alcindor, later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.