The Big O


The Big O

My Life, My Times, My Game

Oscar Robertson

376 pages
22 illustrations


October 2010


$24.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

December 2013


$24.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Perhaps the greatest all-around player in basketball history, Oscar Robertson revolutionized basketball as a member of the Cincinnati Royals and won a championship with the Milwaukee Bucks. When he was twenty-three, in 1962, he accomplished one of basketball’s most impressive feats: averaging the triple-double in a single season—a feat never matched since. Cocaptain of the Olympic gold medal team of 1960; named the player of the century by the National Association of Basketball Coaches; named one of the fifty greatest players in NBA history; and inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980—Robertson’s accolades are as numerous as they are impressive.
But The Big O is also the story of a shy black child from a poor family in a segregated city; of the superstar who, at the height of his career, became the president of the National Basketball Players Association to try to improve conditions for all players. It is the story of the man forced from the game at thirty-four and blacklisted from coaching and broadcasting. But two years after he left basketball, after six years of legal wrangling, Robertson won his lawsuit against the NBA, eliminating the option clause that bound a player to a single NBA team in perpetuity and ending restrictions on free agency.
The Big O is the story of how the NBA, as we now know it, was built; of race in America in the second half of the twentieth century; and of an uncompromising man and a complex hero.

Author Bio

Oscar Robertson, seen by many as one of the best and most versatile basketball players of his time, played in the NBA for the Cincinnati Royals and the Milwaukee Bucks during his fourteen-year professional basketball career.


“As one of the NBA’s all-time greats, Oscar Robertson has much to pass on to both his old fans and young basketball enthusiasts perhaps unfamiliar with his legacy.”—Publishers Weekly

“Known as an intelligent player and respected by his peers as an intelligent man, Robertson puts an exclamation point on the accolades with this thoughtful reflection on a life lived without compromise. A well-written, entertaining, and thought-provoking sports autobiography—but would we ever expect less than a triple-double from the Big O?”—Wes Lukowsky, Booklist

“Oscar Robertson is an incomparable superstar. He is also a thoughtful man and a man of vision. If you want insight into what formed Oscar in the crucial years of his youth, look here. It’s a great book.”—Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

“Oscar was one of basketball’s great leaders, and his life is one of basketball's great stories. He was unafraid, unabashed, and unmatched in everything he did. There will never be another like him.”—Bill Russell

“Oscar Robertson was never a rookie. He was the measuring stick for how a player should play. It is an honor to know him and to have competed against him. He is a man for the ages.”—Jerry West

"Oscar Robertson is remarkably honest in his autobiography, The Big O: My Life, My Times, My Game. . . . It's a fun read."—Zach Lowe,

Table of Contents

Chapter One: The Crossroads of America 1938-1951
Chapter Two: Li'l Flap 1951-1954
Chapter Three: "They Don't Want Us" 1954-1955
Chapter Four: "Talk Is Cheap" 1955-1956
Chapter Five: Collegiate Life 1956-1958
Chapter Six: "What They Eat Don't Make Me Fat" 1958-1959
Chapter Seven: Gold 1959-1960
Chapter Eight: Rookie Stardom 1960-1961
Chapter Nine: The Triple-Double 1961-1963
Chapter Ten: Union President, NBA Royalty 1963-1968 (Part One)
Chapter Eleven: The Sixties Continued 1963-1968 (Part Two)
Chapter Twelve: Moving On 1969-1970
Chapter Thirteen: Milwaukee, Lew Alcindor, and the Championship 1970-1971
Chapter Fourteen: Do Not Go Gently 1971-1974
Chapter Fifteen: Endings 1974-1976

Also of Interest