Contents

Chapter One: The Crossroads of America • 1938-1951
Oscar Robertson’s ancestors. Childhood in rural Tennessee and Indianapolis.

Chapter Two: L’il Flap • 1951-1954
Developing quickly as a basketball player in junior high and high school.

Chapter Three: “They Don’t Want Us” • 1954-55
The first Indiana state championship won by a black high school (Crispus Attucks) leaves a bittersweet aftertaste.

Chapter Four: “Talk Is Cheap” • 1955-1956
An unbeaten season, another state championship, “Mr. Basketball,” and the college recruiting battle heats up.

Chapter Five: Collegiate Life • 1956-1958
A period of adjustment as the first black basketball player recruited by the University of Cincinnati. An unforgettable debut in Madison Square Garden.

Chapter Six: “What They Eat Don’t Make Me Fat” • 1958-1959
Junior year. Sports Illustrated ignites a controversy. Cincinnati’s first trip to the Final Four.

Chapter Seven: Gold • 1959-1960
A second trip to the Final Four, and gold at the Olympics with the best basketball team ever put together.

Chapter Eight: Rookie Stardom • 1960-1961
Rookie of the Year boosts the Cincinnati Royals’ fortunes at the box office and on the court, and makes the cover of TIME.

Chapter Nine: The Triple-Double • 1961-1963
An achievement unmatched in the history of sports goes virtually unnoticed as Wilt Chamberlain averages 50 points a game.

Chapter Ten: Union President, NBA Royalty • 1963-1968
The Royals move to the Eastern division, challenge the Celtics, and make the worst trade in NBA history. Players hold up the All-Star game until owners agree to negotiate. The Big O is NBA MVP.

Chapter Eleven: The Sixties, Continued • 1963-1968
The Royals remain mired in second place. How players from the NBA’s Golden Age compare to today’s.

Chapter Twelve: Moving On • 1969-1970
Bob Cousy takes over as coach and overhauls the team. First trade attempt gives team a surprise. End of O’s era in Cincy.

Chapter Thirteen: Milwaukee, Lew Alcindor, and the Championship • 1970-1971
O finally gets to work with a dominant pivotman and leads the Bucks to a title in his first year with the franchise. Also files suit vs. the NBA.

Chapter Fourteen: Do Not Go Gently • 1971-1974
Three more strong years, finishing one game short of another title, and retirement. Meantime the anti-trust suit vs. the NBA must be pursued.

Chapter Fifteen: Endings • 1974-1976
A brief career as a CBS commentator, a move back to Cincinnati, and a court settlement leads to the Oscar Robertson Rule and free agency for NBA players.

Epilogue
Life after the NBA. Farewell to a great friend and mentor. A new career in business, but no management opportunities in basketball. His biggest assist ever saves a daughter’s life.