'Big O' has very little respect for today's NBA

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. — SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The best in basketball the Sacramento area has to offer met perhaps the best player in basketball history last weekend, when former Cincinnati Royals star and Hall of Fame guard Oscar Robertson addressed the Kings' Basketball Banquet VIII.

Robertson, now a businessman and entrepreneur in the Cincinnati and Indianapolis areas, is the leading scorer in the history of the Kings' franchise. The Royals moved from Cincinnati to Kansas City in 1972 and became the Kings before relocating to Sacramento in 1985.


How good was Robertson? Well, he averaged a triple double (double figures in points, rebounds and assists) over the course of a season before Earvin Johnson became Magic.

Robertson said he never has been approached by the Kings franchise to work in any capacity. Robertson long has been known for his independence and outspokenness.


"They don't want me," Robertson said. "They don't want Oscar Robertson. I really don't think teams want anyone who has an ability. I think teams, like companies around America, want clones. People who do the same things. They don't want anyone who has the ability to win.

"They don't want me because I would not be a person who would sit back and 'yes' everything."

Robertson said independence and self-assuredness are qualities to which all young players should aspire.

"I think to be successful in the world today, you have to be aggressive," Robertson said. "You've got to have confidence in what you are doing. And I tell all young people, you've got to sell yourself."

Robertson is not at a loss for opinions about the league's coaches.

"If you look at the coaches around the league, I don't think 90 percent of them know anything about basketball at all," he said. "You look at what they are doing and they all have the same motif and the same plays. Now, if you have great athletes, then you're going to win."

The man known as "The Big O" (Oliver Miller, forget it) says he harbors no regrets about playing during a time when the league's mainstays struggled to make $100,000 per season. Robertson knows very well about the politics of the game. He was the president of the NBA Players Association for nine years and currently heads the ex-NBAPA.

"I have no regrets at all," Robertson said. "I played against the greatest athletes in basketball in the history of the game. Playing against the guys that I did was a reward in itself, even though the guys now are making a lot of money."