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Oscar Robertson - Active Retirement

Famous Sports StarsBasketballOscar Robertson Biography - Defying The Odds, Chronology, On To Cincinnati, Olympic And Nba Star, Moves To Milwaukee - SELECTED WRITINGS BY ROBERTSON:

Active Retirement

Even off-court, Robertson continued to make his mark on the NBA. In 1976, a lawsuit he had filed against the NBA when he was still union president was settled. The lawsuit sought, among other things, removal of a clause that essentially prevented free agency. The ruling in Robertson's favor is today known as the Oscar Robertson Rule. Robertson also became president of the retired players' union.

Awards and Accomplishments

1958-60 Sporting News College Player of the Year
1958-60 Sporting News All-Star First Team
1960 Gold medal, U.S. Olympic basketball team
1961 NBA Rookie of the Year
1961-69 All-NBA First Team
1961, 1964, 1969 NBA All-Star Game MVP
1964 NBA MVP
1979 Named to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
1980 NBA 35th Anniversary All-Star Team
1984 Named to Olympic Hall of Fame
1994 Oscar Robertson statue erected at University of Cincinnati
1998 College Player of the Year award renamed Oscar Robertson Trophy
1999 Named one of Sports Illustrated 's Greatest Athletes of the 20th Century
1999 Named Indiana Living Legend
1999 Named one of ESPN's 50 Greatest Athletes of the Century
1999 Ohio Governor's Award

Where Is He Now?

When Oscar Robertson returned to the Cincinnati area following his retirement from basketball in 1974, he applied the same drive he had displayed on the court in the business world. Today, he is principal owner of three successful companies: ORCHEM, which sells chemical used for industrial cleaning; ORPACK, a corrugated box manufacturer; and ORDMS, a firm that helps companies reduce their paper flow. He also serves on the boards of community groups and is active in charity events. Often quoted on matters related to both basketball and civil rights, Robertson made headlines again in 1997 when he donated a kidney to his daughter Tia, who suffered from lupus. While Robertson and his daughter attempted to keep the medical procedure quiet, they faced a media onslaught when they left Cincinnati's University Hospital following the successful transplant. Robertson broke down as he spoke to the press. "I'm no hero," he told them, as quoted in People. "I'm just a father."

Returning to Cincinnati, Robertson became a successful businessman and became involved with several community and charity organizations. He also remains an outspoken champion of civil rights—both in word and in practice. In 1999 he refused an endorsement offer from Converse, reasoning "Converse was there for a lot of white athletes when I was playing, but they never came to Oscar Robertson." He also told Sports Illustrated that he believes his race and his involvement with the players' union precluded careers in broadcasting or coaching. While Robertson provided color commentary for CBS after retirement, he was fired after one year.

In 1997 Robertson lamented the fact that his off-court legacy to contemporary players seems to have been diminished. "The players today don't know anything about racism," he told People. "So few of today's players have any idea what he fought for, what he stood for," Robertson's wife, Yvonne, told Sports Illustrated.

As for his contributions on the court, though, Robertson still remains a legend. As the year 2000 approached, numerous sports writers named him among their greatest athletes of the 20th century. "He was so smart on the court that whatever he told you to do you just did it," former teammate Adrian Smith recalled for Sports Illustrated. "It always seemed to be the right thing. I guess he made mistakes from time to time, but I don't remember any."

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