14 minutes of The Big O – O as in Only player to average a triple double for a whole season. It wasn’t a Mark Jackson triple double either. His apples during the 1961-62 season were 31pts, 13rebs & 11ast!
Oscar Palmer Robertson (born November 24, 1938), nicknamed “The Big O“, is a former American National Basketball Association player with the Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound  Robertson played the shooting guard/point guard position, and was a twelve-time All-Star, eleven-time member of the All-NBA Team, and one-time winner of the MVP award in fourteen professional seasons. He is the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season. He was a key player on the team which brought the Bucks their only NBA title in the 1970-71 NBA season. His playing career, especially during high school and college, was plagued by racism.
For his outstanding achievements, Robertson was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980, and 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, and he was one of five people chosen to represent the inaugural National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame class in 2006.
Robertson was also an integral part of the Oscar Robertson suit 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.
Prior to the 1960–61 NBA season, Robertson made himself eligible for the 1960 NBA Draft. There, he was drafted by the Cincinnati Royals as a territorial pick. The Royals gave Robertson a $33,000 signing bonus, a far cry from his childhood days when he was too poor to afford a basketball. Robertson soon proved worthy of their trust, continuing to dominate his opposition on the professional level. In his rookie season, Robertson finished with 30.5 points, 10.1 rebounds and 9.7 assists (leading the league), almost averaging a triple-double for the entire season. For his spectacular performance, he was named NBA Rookie of the Year, was elected into the All-NBA First Team – which would happen in each of Robertson’s first 9 years – and made the first of 12 consecutive All-Star Game appearances. In addition, he was named the 1961 NBA All-Star Game MVP following his 23 point, 14 assist, 9 rebound performance in a West victory. However, the Royals finished with a dismal 33–46 record and stayed in the cellar of the Western Division.
In the 1961–62 season, Robertson made NBA history. In that season, he became the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season, averaging 30.8 points, 11.4 assists and 12.5 rebounds per game. He broke the assists record by Bob Cousy, who had recorded 715 assists two seasons earlier, by logging 899. The Royals earned a playoff berth; however, they were eliminated in the first round by the Detroit Pistons. In the next season, Robertson further established himself as one of the greatest players of his generation, averaging an impressive 28.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 9.5 assists, narrowly missing out on another triple-double season. The Royals charged into the Eastern Division Finals, but succumbed in a grueling seven games series against a great Boston Celtics team led by Bill Russell.
In the 1963–64 season, the Royals achieved an impressive 55–25 record, which meant second place in the Eastern Division. Under new coach Jack McMahon, Robertson flourished, and for the first time in his career, he had a decent supporting cast: second scoring option Jack Twyman was now supplemented by Jerry Lucas and Wayne Embry, and fellow guard Adrian Smith helped Robertson in the backcourt. Robertson had another magnificent season, leading the NBA in free-throw percentage, scoring a career-high 31.4 points per game, and averaging 9.9 rebounds and 11.0 assists per game—just missing another triple-double season. In fact, the averages for his first five NBA seasons are a triple-double again: 30.3 points per game, 10.4 rebounds and 10.6 assists. For his feats, he won the NBA MVP Award and became the only player other than Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain to win it from 1960 to 1968. Robertson also won his second All-Star Game MVP award that year after scoring 26 points, grabbing 14 rebounds, and dishing off 8 assists in an East victory. In the postseason, the Royals defeated the Philadelphia 76ers, but then were dominated by the Celtics 4 games to 1.
From a win–loss perspective, however, this season would be Robertson’s last successful Royals season. From the 1964–65 season on, things began to turn sour for the franchise. Despite Robertson’s stellar play, never failing to record averages of at least 24.7 points, 6.rebounds and 8.1 assists in the six following years, the Royals were eliminated in the first round from 1965–67, then missed the playoffs from 1968–70. In the 1969–70 season, the sixth disappointing season in a row, fan support was waning. To attract the public, 41-year old head coach Bob Cousy even made a short comeback. For 7 games, the legendary Celtics point guard partnered Robertson in the Royals’ backcourt, but they still missed the playoffs.