Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson Goes Off on Double Standards Surrounding LeBron James’ Big 3 in Miami

Published 08/25/2021, 11:15 PM EDT
February 18, 2014: Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade #3, Miami Heat small forward LeBron James #6 and Miami Heat center Chris Bosh #1 observe the National Anthem before an NBA game between the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX Miami defeated Dallas 117-106 (Photo by Albert Pena/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


It takes one brave man to change the course of history. Back in the 70s, it was Sir Oscar Robertson, who fought tooth and nail for the balance of power in professional sports. He was never a puppet for the league, but a man of his words and someone who could stand for justice and change. Somewhat how LeBron James processes today.

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A 21-YO Sir Robertson entered the NBA league in 1960, six years after Bob Cousy founded the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). Back then, the league had the exclusive rights to keep a player bound to one team for a lifetime. However, the same league would later allow major trades and signings to push the business for pure monetary motives.

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The Big O debunked the double standards of the league with a LeBron James example

In a recent podcast interview, the 12x NBA All-Star remembered how his stand against the league opened the doors for business. He then stated how the same league that was against the players enjoying free agency later benefited from the relaxation in rules. 

Discussing the double standards with a relevant example, Sir Oscar detailed, “Years ago, Boston got Kevin Garnett and shooter Ray Allen, that was David Stern’s deal, the NBA allowed that. Everything was fine, people didn’t say anything about it. But when LeBron went to Miami, oh man, like how can you do this? Let’s be honest… the three players got together, they covered up, like Kawhi Leonard and Paul George would go to the Clippers.”

Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders left and Kevin Garnett posed for a photo after he was introduced to the Twins Cities media at Target Center Tuesday February 24, 2015 in Minneapolis, MN.] Jerry Holt/ Jerry.Holt@Startribune.com(Photo By Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

Those trades and the formation of 21st century super teams gave the NBA tons of hype and publicity. Remember LeBron JamesThe Decision and just how it impacted his brand power? Although many deemed it a failure, the PR went through the roof.

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What changed after the Oscar Robertson Rule?

After the filing of the lawsuit, the term unrestricted free agency (UFA) came into play. This meant that a player could move out of the team that held the draft rights, after the completion of a certain tenure. The iconic suit broke the brakes on the merger of NBA & ABA, ensuring the players’ rights were heard first. 

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This class action led to a power transfer that allowed the game’s biggest stakeholders to have their say. On top of that, it later helped the bottom line of the league with all the major transfers and the hype around it.

Mar 14, 2021; Paul George and Kawhi Leonard react to a play from the bench against the Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

As the Hall of Famer himself noted with yet another example, “don’t be that naive and stupid… How it made basketball players into superstars. How it has upgraded basketball from being a USA sport to an international sport. It’s made the difference, how they made more money. The Clippers later sold for $2 billion.”

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Just imagine if there existed no anti-trust lawsuit, where would the league be today. Salute to the act of defiance! Can the likes of CJ McCollum fight for the players as bravely if need be? Help us know your important opinion on this in the comments section below.

Watch this story – Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, and Others Who Signed with the Michael Jordan Brand

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Sourabh Singh

1616 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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