William Theodore Walton III is an American retired basketball player and television sportscaster. Walton played for John Wooden and the UCLA Bruins in the early 1970s, winning three successive College Player of the Year Awards, he led the UCLA Bruins to two NCAA Championships in 1972 and 1973. He had a prominent career in the National Basketball Association, winning an NBA Most Valuable Player and two NBA championships, his professional career was hampered by multiple foot injuries, requiring countless surgeries. Walton was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993 Walton was born and raised in La Mesa, the son of Gloria Anne and William Theodore "Ted" Walton, he was raised with siblings Bruce and Andy. The Walton's La Mesa home was a hillside home on Colorado Avenue, just below Lake Murray, his listed adult playing height was 6 feet 11 inches. Walton's father Ted was his mother Gloria, a librarian, his parents had interests in art, literature and music. Walton took music lessons, although his parents weren't sports oriented, Walton followed in the footsteps of his older brother Bruce, who had gravitated toward sports.
When the Walton children were in junior high and high school, Mr. Walton formed an informal family band: Bruce and Bill played trombone or baritone, Andy played the saxophone and Cathy played the flute. "Bill and I couldn't quit fast enough," Bruce said. Walton first played organized basketball under Frank "Rocky" Graciano, who coached at Walton's Catholic elementary school. Coach Graciano "made it fun and emphasized the joy of playing the team game," said Walton. "I was a scrawny guy. I couldn't speak at all. I was a shy, reserved player and a shy, reserved person. I found a safe place in life in basketball." Walton played high school basketball at Helix High School in California. He played, along with his brother Bruce, one year older and 6'6" and 250 pounds. Bruce was a star football player as well. If Bill Walton was getting physical treatment in a basketball game, Bruce returned the treatment.“When those opposing teams would try to get physical with me, Bruce would do whatever it took to protect me,” Walton recalled.
“He went on to play for the Dallas Cowboys. Bruce and I are the only brother combination in history to play in the Super Bowl and to win the NBA championship.”"When they would begin to rough up Bill, I would look at coach and he would give me a nod," recalled Bruce. "Yes," said Gloria Walton, "then when the referee wasn't looking, Bruce would give the player an elbow and let him know that the skinny guy was his kid brother." Walton's struggle with injury and pain began while at Helix High School, where he broke an ankle, a leg, several bones in his feet and underwent knee surgery. Before his sophomore season, Walton underwent surgery to repair torn cartilage on his left knee; because of his recovery from the knee surgery, Walton played most of his sophomore year on the junior varsity team. Coach Gordon Nash promoted him to the varsity team the end of the season. But, he did not start any of them. After his sophomore year Walton had grown from 6'1" to 6'7". Coach Nash played Bruce Walton together in the paint.
Bill was frail as he had not filled out his growing frame. Bill was unable to play a complete game without resting. "He would get too tired," recalled Nash. "When that happened, he'd tell me and I'd take him out." Walton led Helix to 49 consecutive victories in his two varsity seasons. Helix won the California Interscholastic Federation Championship in both 1969 and 1970, finishing 29-2 in 1968-1969 and 33-0 in 1969-1970. Walton had entered high school at a height of about 6 feet tall and graduated at about 7 feet tall. Walton averaged 25 rebounds, as Helix finished 33-0 in his senior season; as a senior in 1969-1970, Walton made 384 of 490 shot attempts, 78.3 percent, still the all-time national record. In addition, Walton's 825 rebounds. And, his 25.0 rebounds per game in a season ranks No. 7 all time. Walton was featured in “Faces in the Crowd” in the January 26, 1970 issue of Sports Illustrated, his first national media recognition.“It was a dream come true to be a part of a special team,” Walton said.
"Helix is. It was a humbling honor and privilege to be on the same squad as true legends Monroe Nash, Wilbur Strong, Phil Edwards, Bruce Menser. I’m the luckiest guy on earth.”Hall of Fame Coach Denny Crum was an assistant coach at University of California, Los Angeles under coach John Wooden, sent to watch Walton play. Crum first saw Walton in 1968 as a high school junior and was at first dubious when hearing of Walton, but went to scout him anyway. "I came back and told Coach Wooden that this Walton kid was the best high school player I'd seen," Crum recalled. While Walton was in high school, the NBA Expansion team of 1967, the San Diego Rockets were in town; the Rockets had no set practice facility and would play pick-up games at Helix High School. Rocket players learned that to get into the Helix gym they could call the teenager Walton, who somehow had his own gym key. Walton recalled Elvin Hayes calling and telling his mother, "Tell Billy, Big E is calling and we need him to open the gym tonight.
I said,'Mom, that's Big E! Give me the phone!' I was never so embarrassed in my life. Elvin and I are still close friends. All of those guys all still my friends to this day.""We had the best gym
Ohio State Buckeyes men's basketball
The Ohio State men's basketball team represents Ohio State University in NCAA Division I college basketball competition. The Buckeyes are a member of the Big Ten Conference; the Buckeyes share a classic rivalry with the Michigan Wolverines, in which OSU has a 97–77 series lead. The Buckeyes play their home games at Value City Arena in the Jerome Schottenstein Center in Columbus, which opened in 1998; the official capacity of the center is 19,200. Ohio State ranked 28th in the nation in average home attendance as of the 2016 season; the Buckeyes have won one national championship, been the National Runner-Up four times, appeared in 10 Final Fours, appeared in 27 NCAA Tournaments. Thad Matta was named the head coach of Ohio State in 2004 to replace coach Jim O'Brien, fired due to NCAA violations which cost Ohio State over 113 wins between 1998 and 2002. On June 5, 2017, after consecutive years of missing the NCAA Tournament, the school announced Matta would not return as head coach after 13 years and 337 wins at Ohio State.
On June 9, the school hired Butler head coach Chris Holtmann as head coach. The first basketball team at Ohio State University was formed in 1898, playing its first game against East High. Sparing success followed the Buckeyes throughout their time as an independent school. In 1912, some 13 years after forming their first basketball team, the Buckeyes joined the Big Nine Conference, which would be known as the Big Ten. At first, the Buckeyes were not able to mount a sustained run, never finishing higher than second in the conference standings. In 1923, Harold Olsen became head coach, launching the longest basketball coaching dynasty for OSU. Olsen began to see success with the Buckeyes' first conference championship during the 1922–1923 season; the Olsen era is highlighted by appearing in the final game for the first NCAA Championship Tournament in 1939, where the Buckeyes lost to Oregon 33–46. The Buckeyes would make three more Final Four appearances under Olsen, along with winning five Big Ten championships.
Following Olsen as head coach, Tippy Dye and Floyd Stahl led the Buckeyes. Not seeing the same amount of success as Olsen did and Stahl had one NCAA Tournament appearance between them. With the closing of the 1950s, the Ohio State basketball team was not considered a national powerhouse, but it continued to develop and led to the hiring of a man who would change basketball at Ohio State and bring it national fame. Of all Buckeye coaches, it was Fred Taylor. With the hiring of Taylor in 1958, not much was expected following an 11–11 record during the 1958–1959 season. However, in 1960, the second-year coach and All-American player Jerry Lucas led the Buckeyes to their first NCAA Championship Title, defeating California 75–55 in the final game; the 1960 season is the only NCAA Tournament championship. Taylor's team continued its dominance by being the runner-up the following two seasons, making a total of five tournament appearances during Taylor's 18 seasons tenure. With the departure of his championship team, Taylor began to see teams accustomed to Ohio State basketball of the past.
Taylor's last season at Ohio State in 1976 had the Buckeyes going 6–20, their worst record, only to be eclipsed by the team in 1995. Taylor achieved seven conference titles and an impressive overall winning percentage of over 65%. Past the Taylor era, Ohio State saw Eldon Miller, Gary Williams, Randy Ayers take the reins as head coach. Between 1976 and 1997, the Buckeyes made the NCAA bracket only eight times, while being crowned conference champions only twice. In 1997, Jim O'Brien was hired to replace head coach Randy Ayers. During his seven years as head coach, O'Brien drove the team to four 20+ win seasons, two Big Ten regular-season co-championships, the 2002 Big Ten Tournament Championship, a school record four-consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. Controversy erupted when Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger fired O'Brien over alleged NCAA rules violations. A two-year NCAA investigation found that player Boban Savovic might have received improper benefits while he played for Ohio State.
On March 10, 2006, the NCAA gave Ohio State three years' probation and ordered it to pay back all tournament money earned from 1999–2002 when Boban Savovic was on the Buckeyes' roster. In addition, Ohio State was forced to remove all references to team accomplishments by the NCAA directorate from those years including a 1999 visit to the Final Four. Thad Matta, former head coach at Butler and Xavier, was hired by Ohio State in July 2004. During Matta's first season at Ohio State, the Buckeyes compiled a 20–12 record, highlighted by a win in the final game of the season over top-ranked Illinois, undefeated up until that game. Ohio State was defeated by Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals, the team was ineligible for further postseason due to self-imposed sanctions related to Jim O'Brien's time at the school; the 2005–06 season opened with the Buckeyes 11–0 heading into Big Ten play. Ohio State ended the season with a 26–6 record and 12–4 record in conference, the Buckeyes' first outright Big Ten championship since the 1991–92 season.
Ohio State lost to Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament championship game, but received a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. After a first round win, the Buckeyes lost to No. 7 seed Georgetown 70–52 in the second round. Matta's 2006–07 Ohio State team entered the season with the second-rated recruiting class in the nation, headed by Greg Oden and Mike Conley, Jr. and ranked No. 4 in the preseason polls. Ohio State entered conference play with an 11–2 record, with the
Zion Lateef Williamson is an American college basketball player for the Duke Blue Devils of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Listed at 6 ft 7 in and 285 pounds, he plays the small power forward positions. According to many sports analysts, he is projected to be the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. Born in Salisbury, North Carolina, Williamson attended Spartanburg Day School, where he was a consensus five-star recruit and was ranked among the top five players in the 2018 class, he led his team to three straight state championships and earned South Carolina Mr. Basketball recognition in his senior season. Williamson left high school as a McDonald's All-American, runner-up for Mr. Basketball USA, USA Today All-USA first team honoree. In high school, he drew national attention for his slam dunks. In his freshman season with Duke, Williamson was named ACC Player of the Year and ACC Rookie of the Year, he set the single-game school scoring record for freshmen in January 2019, claimed ACC Rookie of the Week accolades five times, earned AP Player of the Year, Sporting News College Player of the Year recognition and won the Wayman Tisdale Award.
Before starting basketball, Williamson played the quarterback position in football. When he was five years old, he set sights on becoming a college basketball star. At age nine, Williamson began waking up every morning at 5 a.m. to train. He competed in youth leagues with his mother Sharonda Sampson coaching and played for the Sumter Falcons on the Amateur Athletic Union circuit, facing opponents four years older than him. Williamson began working with his stepfather, former college basketball player Lee Anderson, to improve his skills as a point guard, he joined the basketball team at Johnakin Middle School in Marion, South Carolina, where he was again coached by his mother and averaged 20 points per game. In middle school, Williamson lost only three games in two years. In 2013, he guided Johnakin to an 8 -- a conference title. Williamson attended Spartanburg Day School, a small K–12 private school in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he played basketball for the Griffins. Between eighth and ninth grade, he grew from 5 ft 9 in to 6 ft 3 in.
In the summer leading up to his first season, Williamson practiced in the school gym and developed the ability to dunk. At the time, he competed for the South Carolina Hornets AAU team as well, where he was teammates with Ja Morant; as a freshman, Williamson averaged 24.4 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 3.3 steals and 3.0 blocks, earning All-State and All-Region honors. He led Spartanburg Day to a South Carolina Independent School Association state championship game appearance. In March 2015, Williamson took part in the SCISA North-South All-Star Game in Sumter, South Carolina. By his second year in high school, he stood 6 ft 6 in. In his sophomore season, Williamson averaged 28.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.9 blocks, 2.7 steals per game and was named SCISA Region I-2A Player of the Year. He led the Griffins to their first SCISA Region I-2A title in program history. In June 2016, Williamson participated in the National Basketball Players Association Top 100 camp and was its leading scorer. In August, he won the Under Armour Elite 24 showcase dunk contest in New York City.
As a junior, Williamson averaged 36.8 points, 13 rebounds, 3 steals, 2.5 blocks per game. Entering the season, he was among 50 players selected to the Naismith Prep Player of the Year Award watch list. Starting in the 2016–17 season, Williamson was propelled into the national spotlight for his viral highlight videos, he made his season debut on November 15, 2016, recording 42 points and 16 rebounds in a win over Cardinal Newman High School. In the same month, his highlights drew the praise of NBA player Stephen Curry. On November 24, Williamson erupted for 50 points, including 10 dunks, along with 16 rebounds and 5 blocks versus Proviso East High School at the Tournament of Champions. In a 73–53 victory over Gray Collegiate Academy at the Chick-fil-A Classic on December 21, he posted a tournament-record 53 points and 16 rebounds, shooting 25-of-28 from the field. On December 30, Williamson recorded 31 points and 14 rebounds to win most valuable player at the Farm Bureau Insurance Classic. On January 15, 2017, he received nationwide publicity after rapper Drake wore his jersey in an Instagram post.
Williamson surpassed the 2,000-point barrier on January 20, when he tallied 48 points against Oakbrook Preparatory School. On February 14, he led Spartanburg Day past Oakbrook Prep for their first SCISA Region I-2A title, chipping in a game-high 37 points in a 105–49 rout. Williamson broke the state record for most 30-point games in a season, with 27 by the end of the regular season, he repeated as SCISA Region I-2A Player of the Year. High school sports website MaxPreps named him National Junior of the Year and to the High School All-American first team, while USA Today High School Sports gave him All-USA first team recognition. On April 22, 2017, Williamson recorded 26 points and 7 rebounds for his AAU team SC Supreme in a loss to touted recruit Romeo Langford and Twenty Two Vision at an Adidas Gauntlet tournament. In June, he appeared on the cover of basketball magazine Slam. Williamson, in a publicized AAU game on July 27, scored 28 points and led SC Supreme to a 104–92 win over 2019 class recruit LaMelo Ball and Big Ballers at the Adidas Uprising Summer Championships.
In August, he was named MVP of the 2017 Adidas Nations camp after averaging 22.5 points and 7.2 rebounds through 6 games. In his senior season, Williamson averaged 11.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. He debuted on November 15, 2017, erupting for 46 points and 15 rebounds in
Kevin Wayne Durant is an American professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association. He played one season of college basketball for the University of Texas, was selected as the second overall pick by the Seattle SuperSonics in the 2007 NBA draft, he played nine seasons in Oklahoma City before signing with Golden State in 2016, winning back-to-back championships in 2017 and 2018. Durant was a recruited high school prospect, regarded as the second-best player in his class. In college, he won numerous year-end awards and became the first freshman to be named Naismith College Player of the Year; as a professional, he has won two NBA championships, an NBA Most Valuable Player Award, two Finals MVP Awards, two NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Awards, four NBA scoring titles, the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, two Olympic gold medals. Durant has been selected to eight All-NBA teams and ten NBA All-Star teams. Off the court, Durant is one of the highest-earning basketball players in the world, due in part to endorsement deals with companies such as Foot Locker and Nike.
He has developed a reputation for philanthropy and leads the league in All-Star votes and jersey sales. In recent years, he has contributed to The Players' Tribune as both a writer. In 2012, he ventured into appearing in the film Thunderstruck. Durant was born on September 29, 1988, in Washington, D. C. to Wanda and Wayne Pratt. When Durant was an infant, his father deserted the family. By age 13, his father reentered his life and traveled the country with him to basketball tournaments. Durant has a sister and two brothers and Rayvonne. Durant and his siblings grew up in Prince George's County, Maryland, on the eastern outskirts of Washington, D. C, he was unusually tall from a young age, reached 6 ft 0 in in height while still in middle school. Growing up, Durant wanted to play for his favorite team, the Toronto Raptors, which included his favorite player, Vince Carter, he played Amateur Athletic Union basketball for several teams in the Maryland area and was teammates with future NBA players Michael Beasley, Greivis Vásquez, Ty Lawson, the first of whom Durant remains friends with to this day.
During this time, he began wearing #35 as his jersey number in honor of his AAU coach, Charles Craig, murdered at the age of 35. After playing two years of high school basketball at National Christian Academy and one year at Oak Hill Academy, Durant transferred to Montrose Christian School for his senior year, growing 5 inches before the start of the season and beginning the year at 6 ft 7 in. Prior to the start of the season, he committed to the University of Texas. At the end of the year, he was named the Washington Post All-Met Basketball Player of the Year, as well as the Most Valuable Player of the 2006 McDonald's All-American Game, he was regarded as the second-best high school prospect of 2006. For the 2006–07 college season, Durant—who had grown to 6 ft 9 in —averaged 25.8 points, 11.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists per game for the Texas Longhorns as a student at the University of Texas. The Longhorns finished the year with a 25–10 record overall and a 12–4 record in conference. Awarded a fourth seed in the NCAA Tournament, Texas won their first round match-up against New Mexico State but were upset in the second round by USC despite a 30-point and 9-rebound performance from Durant.
For his outstanding play, Durant was recognized as the unanimous national player of the year, winning the John R. Wooden Award, the Naismith College Player of the Year Award, all eight other recognized honors and awards; this made Durant the first freshman to win any of the national player of the year awards. On April 11, he declared for the NBA draft, his #35 jersey was retired by the Longhorns. Durant was selected as the second overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft by the Seattle SuperSonics. In his first regular season game, the 19-year-old Durant registered 18 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals against the Denver Nuggets. On November 16, he made the first game-winning shot of his career in a game against the Atlanta Hawks. At the conclusion of the season, he was named the NBA Rookie of the Year behind averages of 20.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists per game. He joined Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James as the only teenagers in league history to average at least 20 points per game over an entire season.
Following Durant's debut season, the SuperSonics relocated from Seattle to Oklahoma City, becoming the Thunder and switching to new colors – blue and yellow. The team drafted UCLA guard Russell Westbrook, who would form an All-Star combination with Durant in years. At the 2009 NBA All-Star Weekend, Durant set a Rookie Challenge record with 46 points. By the conclusion of the year, he had raised his scoring average by five points from the prior season to 25.3 points per game, was considered a strong candidate for the Most Improved Player Award finishing third in the voting. Durant continued to grow during his first few years in the NBA reaching a height of 6 ft 11 in. During the 2009–10 season, Durant was selected to his first NBA All-Star Game. Behind his play, the Thunder improved their record by 27 wins from the previous year and defied expectations to make the playoffs. With a scoring average of 30.1 points per game, he became the youngest NBA scoring champion and was selected to his first All-NBA team.
In his playoff debut, he scored 24 points in a Game 1 loss against the Los Angeles Lakers. Oklahoma City would go on to lose
Michael Jeffrey Jordan known by his initials, MJ, is an American former professional basketball player, the principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association. He played 15 seasons in the NBA for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards, his biography on the official NBA website states: "By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time." He was one of the most marketed athletes of his generation and was considered instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. Jordan played three seasons for coach Dean Smith at the University of North Carolina; as a freshman, he was a member of the Tar Heels' national championship team in 1982. Jordan joined the Bulls in 1984 as the third overall draft pick, he emerged as a league star and entertained crowds with his prolific scoring. His leaping ability, demonstrated by performing slam dunks from the free throw line in Slam Dunk Contests, earned him the nicknames Air Jordan and His Airness.
He gained a reputation for being one of the best defensive players in basketball. In 1991, he won his first NBA championship with the Bulls, followed that achievement with titles in 1992 and 1993, securing a "three-peat". Although Jordan abruptly retired from basketball before the beginning of the 1993–94 NBA season, started a new career in Minor League Baseball, he returned to the Bulls in March 1995 and led them to three additional championships in 1996, 1997, 1998, as well as a then-record 72 regular-season wins in the 1995–96 NBA season. Jordan retired for a second time in January 1999, but returned for two more NBA seasons from 2001 to 2003 as a member of the Wizards. Jordan's individual accolades and accomplishments include six NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Awards, ten scoring titles, five MVP Awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honors, fourteen NBA All-Star Game selections, three All-Star Game MVP Awards, three steals titles, the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award.
He holds the NBA records for highest career regular season scoring average and highest career playoff scoring average. In 1999, he was named the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN, was second to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press' list of athletes of the century. Jordan is a two-time inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, having been enshrined in 2009 for his individual career, again in 2010 as part of the group induction of the 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team, he became a member of the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2015. Jordan is known for his product endorsements, he fueled the success of Nike's Air Jordan sneakers, which were introduced in 1984 and remain popular today. Jordan starred as himself in the 1996 film Space Jam. In 2006, he became part-owner and head of basketball operations for the Charlotte Bobcats, bought a controlling interest in 2010. In 2014, Jordan became the first billionaire player in NBA history, he is the third-richest African-American, behind Robert F. Oprah Winfrey.
Jordan was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Deloris, who worked in banking, James R. Jordan Sr. an equipment supervisor. His family moved to Wilmington, North Carolina. Jordan is the fourth of five children, he has two older brothers, Larry Jordan and James R. Jordan, Jr. one older sister and one younger sister, Roslyn. Jordan's brother James retired in 2006 as the Command Sergeant Major of the 35th Signal Brigade of the XVIII Airborne Corps in the U. S. Army. Jordan attended Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington, where he highlighted his athletic career by playing basketball and football, he tried out for the varsity basketball team during his sophomore year, but at 5'11", he was deemed too short to play at that level. His taller friend, Harvest Leroy Smith, was the only sophomore to make the team. Motivated to prove his worth, Jordan became the star of Laney's junior varsity team, tallied several 40-point games; the following summer, he trained rigorously. Upon earning a spot on the varsity roster, Jordan averaged more than 25 points per game over his final two seasons of high school play.
As a senior, he was selected to play in the 1981 McDonald's All-American Game and scored 30 points, after averaging 27 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists per game for the season. Jordan was recruited by numerous college basketball programs, including Duke, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. In 1981, Jordan accepted a basketball scholarship to North Carolina, where he majored in cultural geography; as a freshman in coach Dean Smith's team-oriented system, he was named ACC Freshman of the Year after he averaged 13.4 ppg on 53.4% shooting. He made the game-winning jump shot in the 1982 NCAA Championship game against Georgetown, led by future NBA rival Patrick Ewing. Jordan described this shot as the major turning point in his basketball career. During his three seasons at North Carolina, he averaged 17.7 ppg on 54.0% shooting, added 5.0 rpg. He was selected by consensus to the NCAA All-American First Team in both his sophomore and junior seasons. After winning the Naismith and the Wooden College Player of the Year awards in 1984, Jordan left North Carolina one year before his scheduled graduation to enter the 1984 NBA draft.
The Chicago Bulls selected Jordan after Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Bowie. One of the primary reasons why Jordan was not drafted
Oscar Palmer Robertson, nicknamed "The Big O", is an American retired professional basketball player who played for the Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks. The 6 ft 5 in, 205 lb Robertson played point guard and was a 12-time All-Star, 11-time member of the All-NBA Team, one-time winner of the MVP award in 14 professional seasons. In 1962, he became the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season. In the 1970–71 NBA season, he was a key player on the team that brought the Bucks their only NBA title, his playing career during high school and college, was plagued by racism. Robertson is a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, having been inducted in 1980 for his individual career, in 2010 as a member of the 1960 United States men's Olympic basketball team and president of the National Basketball Players Association, he was voted one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996. The United States Basketball Writers Association renamed their College Player of the Year Award the Oscar Robertson Trophy in his honor in 1998, he was one of five people chosen to represent the inaugural National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame class in 2006.
He was ranked as the 36th best American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN. Robertson was an integral part of Robertson v. National Basketball Ass'n of 1970; the landmark NBA antitrust suit, named after the then-president of the NBA Players' Association, led to an extensive reform of the league's strict free agency and draft rules and, subsequently, to higher salaries for all players. Robertson was born in poverty in Charlotte and grew up in a segregated housing project in Indianapolis. In contrast to many other boys who preferred to play baseball, he was drawn to basketball because it was "a poor kids' game"; because his family could not afford to buy a basketball, he learned how to shoot by tossing tennis balls and rags bound with rubber bands into a peach basket behind his family's home. Robertson attended an all-black high school. At Crispus Attucks, Robertson was coached by Ray Crowe, whose emphasis on a fundamentally sound game had a positive effect on Robertson's style of play; as a sophomore in 1954, he starred on an Attucks team that lost in the semi-state finals to eventual state champions Milan, whose story would be the basis of the classic 1986 movie Hoosiers.
When Robertson was a junior, Crispus Attucks dominated its opposition, going 31–1 and winning the 1955 state championship, the first for any all-black school in the nation. The following year the team finished with a perfect 31–0 record and won a second straight Indiana state title, becoming the first team in Indiana to secure a perfect season and compiling a state-record 45 straight victories; the state championships were the first by an Indianapolis team in the Hoosier tourney. After their championship game wins, the team was paraded through town in a regular tradition, but they were taken to a park outside downtown to continue their celebration, unlike other teams. Robertson stated, " thought the blacks were going to tear the town up, they thought the whites wouldn't like it." Robertson scored 24.0 points per game in his senior season and was named Indiana "Mr. Basketball" in 1956. After his graduation that year, Robertson enrolled at the University of Cincinnati. Robertson continued to excel while at the University of Cincinnati, recording an incredible scoring average of 33.8 points per game, the third highest in college history.
In each of his three years, he won the national scoring title, was named an All-American, was chosen College Player of the Year, while setting 14 NCAA and 19 school records. Robertson's stellar play led the Bearcats to a 79–9 overall record during his three varsity seasons, including two Final Four appearances. However, a championship eluded Robertson, something that would become a repeated occurrence until late in his professional career; when Robertson left college he was the all-time leading NCAA scorer until fellow Hall of Fame player Pete Maravich topped him in 1970. Robertson took Cincinnati to national prominence during his time there, but the university's greatest success in basketball took place after his departure, when the team won national titles in 1961, 1962, just missed a third title in 1963, he continues to stand atop the Bearcats' record book. The many records he still holds include: points in one game, 62. Robertson had many outstanding individual game performances, including 10 triple-doubles.
His personal best might have been his line of 45 points, 23 rebounds and 10 assists vs. Indiana State in 1959. Despite his success on the court, Robertson's college career was soured by racism. In those days, southern university programs such as those of Kentucky and North Carolina did not recruit black athletes, road trips to segregated cities were difficult, with Robertson sleeping in college dorms instead of hotels. "I'll never forgive them", he told The Indianapolis Star years later. Decades after his college days, Robertson's stellar NCAA career was rewarded by the United States Basketball Writers Association when, in 1998, they renamed the trophy awarded to the NCAA Division I Player of the Year the Oscar Robertson Trophy; this honor brought the award full circle for Robertson since he had won the first two awards presented. After college and Jerry West co-captained the U. S. basketball team at the 1960 Summer Olympics. The team, described as the greatest assemblage of amateur basketball talent steamrollered the competition to
The center known as the five, or the big man, is one of the five positions in a regular basketball game. The center is the tallest player on the team, has a great deal of strength and body mass as well. In the NBA, the center is 6 feet 10 inches or taller and weighs 240 pounds or more, they traditionally have played close to the basket in the low post. A center with the ability to shoot outside from three-point range is known as stretch five; the center is considered a necessary component for a successful team in professional leagues such as the NBA. Great centers have been the foundation for most of the dynasties in both the NBA and NCAA; the 6'10" George Mikan pioneered the Center position, shattering the held perception that tall players could not develop the agility and coordination to play basketball well, ushering in the role of the dominant big man. He led DePaul University to the NIT title after turning professional, won seven National Basketball League, Basketball Association of America and NBA Championships in his ten-year career, nine of them with the Minneapolis Lakers.
Using his height to dominate opposing players, Mikan invented the shot block. In the 1960s, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain further transformed basketball by combining height with a greater level of athleticism than previous centers. Following the retirement of George Mikan, the rivalry of the two big men came to dominate the NBA. Between the two of them and Russell won nine of the eleven MVP awards in the eleven-year period between 1958 and 1969. Many of the records set by these two players have endured today. Most notably and Russell hold the top eighteen season averages for rebounds. Bill Russell led the University of San Francisco to two consecutive NCAA Championships, he joined the Boston Celtics and helped make them one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history, winning eleven championships over his thirteen-year career as well as five MVP awards. Russell revolutionized defensive strategy with his shot-blocking and physical man-to-man defense. While he was never the focal point of the Celtics offense, much of the team's scoring came when Russell grabbed defensive rebounds and initiated fast breaks with precision outlet passes to point guard Bob Cousy.
As the NBA's first African-American superstar, Russell struggled throughout his career with the racism he encountered from fans in Boston after the 1966–67 season, when he became the first African-American in any major sport to be named player-coach. His principal rival, Wilt Chamberlain, listed at 7'1", 275 pounds, lacked Russell's supporting cast. Chamberlain played college ball for the Kansas Jayhawks, leading them to the 1957 title game against the North Carolina Tar Heels. Although the Jayhawks lost by one point in triple overtime, Chamberlain was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. A member of the Harlem Globetrotters before joining the Philadelphia Warriors of the NBA in 1959, Chamberlain won two Championships, in 1967 with the Philadelphia 76ers and 1972 with the Los Angeles Lakers, although his teams were defeated by the Celtics in the Eastern Conference and NBA Finals, he won seven scoring titles, eleven rebounding titles, four regular season Most Valuable Player awards, including the distinction, in 1960, of being the first rookie to receive the award.
Stronger than any player of his era, he was capable of scoring and rebounding at will. Although he was the target of constant double- and triple-teaming, as well as fouling tactics designed to take advantage of his poor free-throw shooting, he set a number of records that have never been broken. Most notably, Chamberlain is the only player in NBA history to average more than 50 points in a season and score 100 points in a single game, he holds the NBA's all-time records for rebounding average, rebounds in a single game, career rebounds. A lesser-known center of the era was Nate Thurmond, who played the forward position opposite Wilt Chamberlain for the San Francisco Warriors but moved to center after Chamberlain was traded to the new Philadelphia franchise. Although he never won a Championship, Thurmond was known as the best screen setter in the league, his averages of 21.3 and 22.0 rebounds per game in 1966–67 and 1967–68, are exceeded only by Chamberlain and Russell. In contrast to the Celtics dynasty of the 1960s, the 1970s were a decade of parity in the NBA, with eight different champions and no back-to-back winners.
At the college level, the UCLA Bruins, under Coach John Wooden, built the greatest dynasty in NCAA basketball history, winning seven consecutive titles between 1967 and 1973. UCLA had won two consecutive titles in 1964 and 1965 with teams that pressed and emphasized guard play. After not winning in 1966, Wooden's teams changed their style, he led UCLA to three championships-in 1967, 68' and 69'-while winning the first Naismith College Player of the Year Award. During his college career, the NCAA enacted a ban on dunking because of Alcindor's dominant use of the shot, his entrance into the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1969 was timely, as Bill Russell had just retired and Wilt Chamberlain was 33 years old and plagued by injuries. After leading the Bucks to the 1971 NBA championship, te