Oscar 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.
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."
- Oscar Robertson - Awards And Accomplishments
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