As we transition from the NCAA basketball tournament, spring football, baseball, golf and other sports take center stage reminding me of my on going commitment to myself to continue lobbying for the most fitting tribute, for the most deserving alumni in the history of UC athletics if not UC period.
His name is instantly recognizable; his nickname is a brand unto itself and he has stayed connected to the University of Cincinnati not just in name but with contributions beyond the money. With the obvious need for a new basketball venue, seeing that Shoemaker Center's time has come and gone, it is only fitting that I once again champion the cause in print for a new facility to be built in his honor. Ladies and gentlemen, Alumni and students I present to you the Big Orena (not arena).
Oscar Robertson is one of the most deserving individuals in the history of college basketball and the University of Cincinnati. When Bob Huggins was removed he stepped in; when recruits come and coaches want to show him as a jewel of the University he complies. When he is on TV, in print or on radio the UC name is mentioned so much that a PR firm could easily calculate the value into the millions of dollars. So that in itself should offset the cry that naming rights take precedent over Oscar. I think he has valuated himself worthy of the ultimate naming rights for this new venue.
I have seen broadcasters run to his seat to say hello and ask for autographs; game officials do the same. I have seen successful businessmen and parents alike seek out his hand or signature. That alone justifies my request as to his name taking its rightful place on a new arena. And while you're at it, name the street Big O Boulevard and the address One Big O Boulevard to cement the deal.
Oscars' name is as legendary as his play. The National Basketball Writers of America have named their player of the year award after him so why can't UC name their venue after him? Even if it calls for another 1-2 years before you start, make the announcement now. Oscar, nor you or I, are getting any younger and to do this after he would be gone would be sad. I would say along the lines of Buck O'Neil's blatant snub by Cooperstown, not admitting him to the hall until it was done posthumously while everyone knew it should have been done while he was around to see it and enjoy it.
The time has come; it has always been here and while I see other universities name courts after coaches, deservedly so while they're alive to see it, I think why can't we? I would love to help and I think the Nike's, Reebok's, Converse, Magic Johnson's and others would agree too. Maybe we just need to ask them for their support.
That's the way I see it, sitting in The Box Seat.