Basketball Legend Oscar Robertson to be Honored as 2008 National Pathfinder Award Recipient
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April 28, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS - Oscar Robertson, basketball legend and advocate for organ donation on behalf of the National Kidney Foundation, will be honored with the 2008 National Pathfinder Award at the annual Pathfinder Awards Banquet on Sunday, June 29 at Conseco Fieldhouse. The Pathfinder Awards annually recognize individuals for their contributions and dedication to youth.

The awards banquet is held in conjunction with the 21st anniversary Youthlinks Indiana Charity Golf Tournament, co-presented by Indiana Sports Corporation and Indiana Black Expo. Over the years, more than $5.4 million in event proceeds has been distributed back into the community to support youth-based sports programs and initiatives through CHAMPS (Champions in Life) grants and other programs. This year's Pathfinder Awards will feature Clark Kellogg of CBS Sports as master of ceremonies.


 

 

In 1997, Robertson's daughter, Tia, was experiencing kidney failure as a result of lupus, and he donated a kidney to save her life. Since then, Robertson has served as an advocate for health and wellness, organ donation and kidney disease prevention on behalf of the National Kidney Foundation.       

Robertson has also established the Oscar and Yvonne Robertson Scholarship Fund, which provides assistance to deserving minority students at the University of Cincinnati. He and his wife serve as co-chairs of the University's $800 million capital campaign. Robertson is also one of the nation's leading small business owners, serving as CEO of companies in the areas of specialty chemicals, document management, processed foods and media. He is a board member of Countrywide Financial Corporation, the nation's leading home loan lender.   

Robertson, also known as the "Big O," is recognized for his outstanding basketball career that began in his native Indianapolis and resulted in numerous awards. He led the Milwaukee Bucks to the NBA Championship in 1971 and earned a place in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1979. He was also named to the NBA's 50th Anniversary Team in 1997. Robertson is the only player to average a triple-double (points, rebounds, assists) for an entire season and the only guard to ever lead his team in rebounding. He also led the NBA in assists six times and free throw percentage twice. He is the all-time leader in triple-double games, the all-time leader in rebounding for guards, and third all-time in assists. His 26,710 career points and 25.7 points per game average rank him eighth all-time among the NBA's scoring leaders.   

Robertson was raised in a segregated area of Indianapolis and developed his game on playgrounds and dirt courts. He played under coach Ray Crowe at all-black Crispus Attucks High School, which he led to a 45-game winning streak that included state championships in 1955 and 1956. He was named Indiana's "Mr. Basketball" following his senior season, while also earning first-team high school All-America distinction and the National High School Player of the Year Award.

He went on to play for the University of Cincinnati, where he averaged 33.8 points per game. His long list of accolades includes being a three-time All-America and National College Player of the Year honoree, while leading the nation in scoring three times. He led the Bearcats to two Final Fours in his three varsity seasons. Before earning his degree in business in 1960, the Robertson-led Bearcats posted a 79-9 record in his three seasons.

Robertson was drafted as a territorial pick to the Cincinnati Royals in 1960 after helping Team USA to an Olympic gold medal in the same year. Robertson was named Rookie of the Year in his inaugural season, finishing third in the league in scoring at 30.5 points per game. In 1963-64, he won the NBA's MVP Award after leading the league in assists (11 per game) and free throw percentage (.853), and ranking second in scoring (31.4 points per game). He led the Royals to six straight trips to the playoffs (1962-67).

Robertson was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks for the 1970-71 season. The duo of Robertson and second-year center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar lead the Bucks to NBA's best record that season at 66-16 and the team's first and only NBA championship. Robertson then helped the Bucks to three more playoff appearances, including the NBA Finals in 1974, before retiring. Over the course of his career, he was selected to 12 consecutive NBA All-Star Teams, earning the game's MVP honor on three occasions.

The Youthlinks Indiana Charity Golf Tournament will take place Monday, June 30, at five premier Indiana golf courses: The Brickyard Crossing, The Country Club of Indianapolis, Crooked Stick Golf Club, Meridian Hills Country Club and Woodland Country Club.   

The Indiana Pathfinder Award and Rev. Charles Williams Award recipients will be announced in the near future. 

For more information on Youthlinks Indiana, contact Chris Brelage at (317) 237-5035 or chris.brelage@indianasportscorp.com. Additional information on the event can be found at www.indianasportscorp.com.