In addition to both being members of the Naismith Basketball Memorial Hall of Fame and the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, Oscar Robertson and Dave Bing also share the same birthday: November 24.
With the two legends reaching milestone birthdays on Saturday – Robertson turns 80 and Bing turns 75 – we take a closer look at their accomplishments both on and off the court.
Oscar Robertson: Stats and Facts
Oscar Robertson was the first selection in the 1960 NBA Draft as a territorial pick by the Cincinnati Royals.
Robertson averaged 30.5 points per game during his rookie season, the third highest average of any rookie in NBA history behind Wilt Chamberlain (37.6 in 1959-60) and Walt Bellamy (31.6 in 1961-62).
Not only did Robertson win Rookie of the Year honors in 1961, he was also named an All-Star and won All-Star MVP honors during his first NBA season.
Robertson was named an All-Star in each of his first 12 seasons in the NBA (1961-1972) and would win three MVP honors (1961, 1964 and 1969).
During the 1961-62 season, Robertson became the first player to average a triple-double for an entire season as he finished with averages of 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists.
He was the first player in league history to average double-digit assists and the first guard to average double-digit rebounds for an entire season. Robertson led the league in assists six times in his career (1961-62, 1964-66, 1969).
Robertson racked up a record 41 triple-doubles during the 1961-62 season, a mark that stood for 55 years before being broken by Russell Westbrook in 2016-17. Robertson still holds the record for most career triple-doubles with 181.
Robertson not only averaged a triple-double over the course of a full single-season, his averages over the first five seasons of his career were also a triple-double: 30.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 10.6 assists.
Robertson was named NBA Most Valuable Player in 1964, the only player other than Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain to win the award from 1960 to 1968.
Robertson spent the first 10 seasons of his NBA career with the Cincinnati Royals (1961-1970) before being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks prior to the 1970-71 season. In Milwaukee, he teamed up with Lew Alcindor to win the 1971 NBA championship, the only title of Robertson’s career.
Robertson’s No. 14 is retired by the Sacramento Kings. The Cincinnati Royals relocated to Kansas City in 1975 and were renamed the Kansas City-Omaha Kings (as the team split home games between Kansas City and Omaha until 1975). In 1985, the Kansas City Kings moved to Sacramento, where the franchise remains today. Robertson’s No. 1 is retired by the Milwaukee Bucks.
Robertson finished his career with 26,7210 points (25.7 per game), 7,804 rebounds (7.5 per game), and 9,887 assists (9.5 per game). At the time of his retirement, he was the NBA’s all-time leader in career assists and free throws made, and was the second all-time leading scorer behind Wilt Chamberlain. Today, he ranks 12th all-time in scoring, 6th in assists and 4th in free throws made.
Robertson is a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee; he was inducted as an individual player in 1980 and as a member of the 1960 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team in 2010. He was also named as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996.
In addition to his on-court accolades, Robertson is also remembered for his off-the-court contributions to the NBA. The landmark case of Robertson v. National Basketball Association – an antitrust suit filed by the NBA Players Association (with Robertson serving as its president) against the league – was settled in 1976 and gave the players the rights to become free agents.
Dave Bing: Stats and Facts
Dave Bing entered the NBA as the No. 2 overall pick by the Detroit Pistons in the 1966 NBA Draft after playing his collegiate basketball as Syracuse University.
Bing was named NBA Rookie of the Year in 1967 after averaging 20.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists while playing 34.5 minutes per game for the 30-51 Pistons.
Bing followed up his impressive rookie campaign by winning the NBA scoring title, being named an All-Star and earning All-NBA First Team honors in his second season. Bing averaged a career-best 27.1 points per game (2,142 total points as totals were used to determine the scoring champ at the time) as well as 4.7 rebounds and 6.4 assists to help the Pistons improve to 40-42 and earn a playoff berth.
Bing would earn seven All-Star selections in his 12-year NBA career. In his final All-Star appearance (and first as a member of the Washington Bullets) Bing was named All-Star Game MVP after finishing with 16 points and 4 assists in the East’s 123-109 win over the West.
Bing played for three teams during his 12-year career. After spending his first nine seasons with the Detroit Pistons (1966-75), Bing played with the Washington Bullets for two seasons (1975-77) before playing his final season with the Boston Celtics (1977-78 season). His No. 21 jersey is retired by the Detroit Pistons.
Bing finished his NBA career with 18,327 points (20.3 per game), 3,420 rebounds (3.8 per game) and 5,397 assists (6.0 per game). He currently ranks 69th all-time in scoring and 51st in assists.
In addition to his seven All-Star selections and three All-NBA team selections (two First Team, one Second Team), Bing was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990 and named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996.
Following his playing career, Bing returned to Detroit and launched Bing Steel in 1980. A decade later, the firm had grown to annual sales of $61 million, making it the 10th-largest African-American-owned industrial company in the nation, according to Black Enterprise magazine’s rankings.
In 1989, the city of Detroit announced plans to cancel all sports programs in public high schools as part of a budgetary-crisis cutback. Bing launched a campaign that raised $373,000 to save the programs. As it turned out, Detroit voters approved tax increases, but Bing still had the money turned over to the schools, no strings attached.
At the 1990 NBA All-Star Game, Bing was recognized for his work after his NBA career.
On October 16, 2008, Bing announced that he would run for mayor of Detroit, to complete the term left vacant when former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick resigned. On May 5, 2009, Bing defeated interim Mayor Ken Cockrel, Jr. to become the 62nd mayor of Detroit. He was re-elected to a full term in November 2009, but did not seek re-election in 2013.
The two Hall of Fame players share the same birthdate – November 24 – with Robertson (celebrating his 80th birthday) five years older than Bing (75).
Robertson and Bing were All-Star teammates three times during their playing careers. In 1968, both were starters for the East with Robertson finishing with 18 points, 5 assists and 1 rebound and Bing adding 9 points, 4 assists and 2 rebounds as the East beat the West 144-124.
The two teamed up a year later (Robertson as a starter and Bing as a reserve) as Robertson won his third All-Star MVP award after finishing with 24 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists in the East win. They teamed for a final time in 1971 (Bing as a starter, Robertson as a reserve), this time for the West after expansion and realignment moved the Bucks and Pistons to the West. Different conference, same result for Robertson and Bing as the West won 108-107.
Through the 1968-69 season, the NBA scoring title was determined by total points rather than scoring average like we know it today. Bing won the 1967-68 scoring title as he finished with 2,142 total points, while Robertson finished sixth with 1,896 points. However, Robertson finished with the league’s top scoring average at 29.2 points per game that season, while Bing finished second at 27.1. Robertson was limited to 65 games due to injury, while Bing played 79 games to bypass Robertson in total points and collect the scoring title.