Turner and the NBA today announced that Oscar Robertson, a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer and 12-time NBA All-Star, will be honored by the NBA with its Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 NBA Awards on TNT presented by Kia. TNT will televise the second annual NBA Awards, hosted by Anthony Anderson, live on Monday, June 25 at 9 p.m. ET from Barker Hangar in Los Angeles.
Robertson (“Big O”) forever changed the game of basketball both on and off the court. On the court, Robertson was the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double (double figures in points, rebounds and assists) for an entire season (1961-1962), and he remains the league’s all-time leader in triple-doubles with 181. As the first big guard to play “positionless basketball” who could rebound, play defense, distribute the ball and score from the inside and outside, Robertson is widely recognized as one of the best all-around players in the history of the game.
Named among the NBA’s 50 greatest players of all time, Robertson’s other career-making individual accomplishments include the NBA Rookie of the Year (1961), NBA MVP (1964), three NBA All-Star Game MVPs and nine All-NBA First Team honors. He and the Milwaukee Bucks won their only NBA championship in 1971 amid 10 combined playoff appearances with the Cincinnati Royals and the Bucks.
Among other historic firsts in his career, Robertson led the Crispus Attucks High School basketball team to two consecutive Indiana state championships, becoming the first all African-American team in the nation to win a state title.
Robertson was the first three-time national College Player of the Year while at the University of Cincinnati and a three-time First Team All-American. In 1998, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association renamed its college player of the year award, the Oscar Robertson Trophy®.
He co-captained the undefeated 1960 U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball team and was part of the first team of NBA players to tour abroad for the U.S. State Department under the Johnson Administration in Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia and Egypt.
Off the court, Robertson’s impact on basketball was even more significant. As the first African-American president of any national sports or entertainment labor union, Robertson was the longest-serving president of the National Basketball Players Association from 1965-1974. His anti-trust lawsuit against the NBA in part sought changes in the NBA Draft and players’ movement. The 1976 settlement – known as the Oscar Robertson Rule – changed the balance of power in professional sports and ushered in free agency in the NBA and other professional sports.
Robertson also co-founded the National Basketball Retired Players Association and served as its first president from 1992-1998, dedicated to improving pension benefits and medical care for an earlier generation of players.
For his achievements in both college and professional basketball, Robertson was named “Player of the Century” by the National Association of Basketball Coaches in 2000.
Last year, 11-time NBA champion, five-time NBA MVP and Hall of Famer Bill Russell received the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award at theNBA Awards. He received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.