NBA Stats

Nov 24 2013 7:29AM

Ten Numbers You Need to Know About The Big O

By Brian Martin

Oscar Robertson -- aka The Big O, aka Mr. Triple-Double -- turns 75 on Sunday, Nov. 24. In honor of his 75th birthday, we present 10 numbers that best capture his brilliant NBA career as one of the best all-around players of all-time.

While did not win a scoring title in his career (see: Wilt Chamberlain), Robertson finished in the top three in all but two of his first nine seasons in the NBA and was runner up for the scoring title twice (1963-64 and 1966-67).

In the 1967-68 season, Robertson averaged the most points in the league (29.2) but had only played in 65 games and totaled 1,896 points, which was the sixth highest total. [Note: The league leaders in points, rebounds and assists were originally determined by totals in each category until the 1968-69 season, after which per game averages were used to determine the leaders instead.]

He averaged a career-best 31.4 points during his MVP season in 1963-64. While that average would not win the scoring title against Wilt, it would have won eight of the last 10 scoring titles -- bested only by Kobe Bryant in 2005-06 (35.4) and 2006-07 (31.6).

He is the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for an entire season. In 1961-62, Robertson averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists for the season.

Other notable No. 1's for The Big O include:

  • He won one NBA title with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1971.
  • He won one NBA Most Valuable Player in 1964 -- becoming the only player other than Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain to win the award from 1960 to 1968.
  • He won Rookie of the Year in 1961 after averaging 30.5 points, 10.1 rebounds and a league-best 9.7 assists, almost averaging a triple-double for the entire season.

  • 2
    Robertson has both of his jersey numbers retired. He wore No. 14 as a member of the Cincinnati Royals (1960-1970), a franchise that relocated multiple times and is now the Sacramento Kings, which has No. 14 hanging in the rafters of Sleep Train Arena. He wore No. 1 with the Milwaukee Bucks (1970-1974), where he helped lead them to their first and only NBA title in 1971.

    Not only did Robertson average a triple-double over a single season in 1961-62, if you combine his first five seasons in the NBA, he averaged a triple-double with 30.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 10.6 assists per game.

    He nearly expanded that to six seasons, but fell 21 rebounds shy over the total course of the six seasons (4,579 rebounds in 460 games) to average 10 rebounds per game.

    Below is a comparison of Robertson's first five seasons and those of some of the best all-around players of all-time, including the top five leaders in career triple-doubles (Magic, Kidd, Wilt, Bird), the player widely regarded as the greatest of all time (Jordan) and an active player that will reach that group in the near future (James).

    First Five NBA Seasons

    Oscar Robertson38444.430.310.410.6
    Wilt Chamberlain39147.341.725.33.0
    Magic Johnson33837.418.28.49.8
    Larry Bird39937.922.610.75.6
    Michael Jordan34539.
    Jason Kidd34737.
    *LeBron James39141.
    * active player

    Robertson led the league in assists six times and is ranked sixth on the all-time assist leaders list with 9,887 career assists.

    NBA All-Time Assist Leaders

    1John Stockton1,50415,806
    2Jason Kidd1,39112,091
    3Mark Jackson1,29610,334
    4*Steve Nash1,20810,278
    5Magic Johnson90610,141
    6Oscar Robertson1,0409,887
    7Isiah Thomas9799,061
    8Gary Payton1,3358,966
    9*Andre Miller1,1387,991
    10Rod Strickland1,0947,987
    * active player

    Robertson was selected first team All-NBA in each of his first nine seasons as a pro (1961-69) and was named to the second team in 1970 and 1971.

    While known for his all-around play, Robertson is the 10th leading scorer in NBA history with 26,710 points in 1040 games, the fewest games played for any player in the Top 10. Only Robertson and Wilt Chamberlain appear in the top 10 without a 3-point field goal made as both played before the 3-point line was adopted in 1979. [Both Shaq and Kareem have one 3-point field goal made in their careers.]

    NBA All-Time Scoring Leaders

    1Kareem Abdul-Jabbar1,56038,387
    2Karl Malone1,47636,928
    3Michael Jordan 1,07232,292
    4*Kobe Bryant1,23931,617
    5Wilt Chamberlain1,04531,419
    6Shaquille O'Neal1,20728,596
    7Moses Malone1,32927,409
    8Elvin Hayes1,30327,313
    9Hakeem Olajuwon1,23826,946
    10Oscar Robertson1,04026,710
    * active player

    Robertson was named to 12 consecutive All-Star Games (1961-1972) and was named Most Valuable Player of the game three times (1961, 1964, 1969)

    Robertson averaged 42.2 minutes per game for his career, the third-highest average in NBA history behind Wilt Chamberlain (45.8) and Bill Russell (42.3). Allen Iverson (41.1) and Elgin Baylor (40.0) are the only other players to average at least 40 minute per game for their career. LeBron James is next on the list at 39.6 minutes per game and the only active player in the top 15.

    Robertson posted 181 career triple-doubles, the most in NBA history by a wide margin. Magic Johnson is second with 138 and Jason Kidd is the only other player over 100 with 118. The highest active player is LeBron James at 36.

    NBA All-Time Triple-Doubles Leaders

    1Oscar Robertson181
    2Magic Johnson138
    3Jason Kidd118
    4Wilt Chamberlain78
    5Larry Bird59
    6Lafayette Lever43
    7*LeBron James36
    8John Havlicek30
    9Grant Hill29
    10Michael Jordan28
    * active player