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Oscar Robertson would ask that you kindly get off LeBron's back

Sep 5, 2010, 9:05 AM EDT

There’s a chance, remote as it may be, that LeBron James may average a triple-double this season. And yet, even in dominating the league with spectacular play, he will be booed, hated upon, reviled for his decision to leave Miami. But the man that invented the triple double, NBA Hall-of-Fame legend Oscar Robertson thinks people need to chill out on LeBron. 

In an interview with the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn, Robertson says that several great players found themselves switching clubs in order to further their careers. He invokes the names of Bill Russell, Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Wilt Chamberlain, along with himself in the list of players that made the decision to head elsewhere in order to achieve the greatness they desired in their careers. From the Globe:

“I’m going to give you a little scenario about something,” he said. “People don’t think beyond a couple of years ago. When Shaq [O’Neal] was in Orlando, what happened to him? When Kareem was in Milwaukee, what happened to him? Wilt [Chamberlain] went to Los Angeles. [Good teams] are always going to make a key trade.
“LeBron has an opportunity just like Oscar Robertson had an opportunity. Cleveland thinks he should have stayed, [but] he has a right to do this.”

From Oscar’s mouth to your ears. It’s a rare point of sanity in world gone made with LeBron-bashing of what was essentially someone wanting to take a better job with a higher professional ceiling alongside his friends in a warmer locale. Robertson also discusses how it’s James’ right to make that decision.

Granted, some of the players Robertson mentions were traded, though the same can technically be said of James in his sign-and-trade. Additionally, the biggest problem people have with James is his way of announcing the decision on national television. But really, when you get down to it, that’s pretty petty to hold a longterm grudge over. 
This sounds like nothing but LeBron-defense, which in a way it is, but having someone like Oscar Robertson come out and say that the whole world’s gone mad over this thing does give you pause. Robertson also mentions that you’d better not think this is a one-off deal. 

“With what LeBron and Bosh and Wade did, it’s going to happen again,” Robertson said. “Get ready for it. Basketball will never be the same anymore.


  1. pffffft - Sep 5, 2010 at 11:05 AM

    Reviled for his decision to leave Miami? He already left Miami? How was this not bigger news?

  2. Bob - Sep 5, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    Kareem demanded a trade. Horrible point.
    Back to the draWing board.

  3. Turk - Sep 5, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    LeBron! What amazes me is when coaches (teams) dump or trade players, and that player found out from friends or during a news interview. Now they are so ANGRY at LeBron because he did it. Cleveland is ANGRY at LeBron because his leaving will deminish the Cleveland Cavaliers position in the NBA, without LeBron they probably, more than likely, will be where the New Jersey Nets were last year.

  4. TheQuis - Sep 5, 2010 at 1:24 PM

    I hate this argument that is used over and over again from Lebron, to Dr. Laura, to Fox News, to Keith Olberman, to Kobe. Yes, it is their right to do or say whatever you want. It is also our right to criticize them (just like its their right to criticize our criticism). Freedom of speech is a two way street.

  5. JPerz - Sep 5, 2010 at 4:03 PM

    I have a very neutral position about this but what really annoy me is the immaturity of the Cavaliers management. They use loyalty for their convenience, they hate LBJ leaving the team but the truth is that it only hurts them because of how good he is. I bet if we were talking about Jerry Stackhouse they wouldn’t care. LBJ haven’t been the most mature either, but that doesn’t justify all the trash talking from the franchise and the bad journalism we had about this issue. I am not personally a fan of LBJ, but I have see how an athlete becomes the victim of unjustified criticism when he doesn’t follow the standards of how the game is managed when it wasn’t like that before.
    @Turk ; It is Cavalier’s fault for resting all the honor and glory of the franchise in 1 man alone.
    @TheQuis ; You are free to criticize, indeed, but when you criticize something another person did under his own rights your criticism becomes pointless.

  6. mike3775 - Sep 5, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    You say to lay off, but hate to burst your little bubble Oscar, I pay the salary of him, and if I want to gripe about what he did, I have the right to. Besides, how come its not ok for me as a fan to gripe, but its ok for him to say “he is watching what is said”? Seems the “savior” can’t handle the pressure of being the savior.

  7. SpankYoMonkey - Sep 5, 2010 at 5:28 PM

    yea and bron bron has the right to come out of the closet too … but that’s not right either. he can’t win a championship on his own so yea, i guess he has the right but it ain’t right .. its a cop out.

  8. James C. Hollins - Sep 5, 2010 at 5:32 PM

    Wow,it’s so great to get to weigh in, i’m sadden that all of this mess exist, if LBJ did not break any rules or laws, why are we spending so much precious time on this subject, for me personally, i don’t see what everybody is seeing, i don’t think this makes miami the best team in the east, and if one of them get hurt, what will we be saying, on another hand nobody said a word when the celtics did it, adding KG & Ray, basketball is nothing but a game of chess, prediction Kobe to the wizards, if he truly want to be like Mike it will happen, man i can’t wait to see the Wall & Bryant show. Thanks for letting me give my opinion, i have a lot more on my mind, if given the oppurtunity, i would love to write for anybody who would have me, Thanks dearly!!

  9. David - Sep 5, 2010 at 6:28 PM

    it’s good to know you follow professional sports, rather than just sportscenter. you’re an idiot. the cavs have still twice as good of a team as the nets did a year ago and still have a better coach. so get off the internet reading stories of people “thinking” the cavs are going to put up 10-15 wins. you’re retarded, congratulations.

  10. David - Sep 5, 2010 at 6:29 PM

    it’s good to know you follow professional sports, rather than just sportscenter. you’re an idiot. the cavs have still twice as good of a team as the nets did a year ago and still have a better coach. so get off the internet reading stories of people “thinking” the cavs are going to put up 10-15 wins. you’re retarded, congratulations.

  11. Anonymous - Sep 5, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    Shut up, get over it. LBJ has a wright to go where he wants to go. Played 7 years for this buffoon as an owner with no supporting cast, when will he win a championship at the age of 55–bee beeb, no, sorry LBJ must leave a 1/10 franchise.

  12. Tebron - Sep 5, 2010 at 7:02 PM

    How does the move to Miami not make them the best team in the East? Lebron took the CAV’s to the best record in the NBA and 66 wins with a bunch of nobody’s and a has been Shaq. He has done two years in a row, only to have his team mates not help him deliver in the playoff’s. Just think what he can do with legitimate All-Stars on his team.
    To all those critics they are not being realistic. Sir Charles, Pippen, MJ, Magic and others are all liars. With exception of Sir Charles they all played on a team with All-Stars and were “lucky” enough to be drafted to great cities that players want to be in. Charles’ fat arse went ring chasing with the Rockets. And he has said repeatedly that he would trade his MVP for ring any day. Do you think if he had the chance to play with two of the leagues best that he wouldnt do it?? Of course he would. He tried to jump on the Olajuwan, Clyde and Pippen express but way to late in his career.
    Sure LeBron could have handled it better but apparently he gave the public something they wanted to see..look at the ratings. Get off the his back. I mean Cleveland or South Beach, Rings potential or absolutely not ring potential, easy choice to me.

  13. Nick - Sep 5, 2010 at 8:25 PM

    How is everyone missing the point of why we are so angry at Lebron? As a Clevelander, I respect his right to choose where he wanted to play. Only idiots are angry that he chose somewhere else to play.
    What we are angry about is that he made a huge spectacle out of his decision, spurning the city on national television in the most immature way imaginable. If he would’ve told the Cavaliers his decision, instead of making them watch his ridiculous tv show, Dan Gilbert certainly wouldn’t have written that letter. If he would’ve held a press conference like normal athletes do to announce their decision, most rational fans in Cleveland would not hate him. He didn’t even thank the fans who have worshiped him for the past 7 years until he realized not doing so would hurt his “image”.

  14. Anonymous - Sep 6, 2010 at 4:00 AM

    Stick to your guns. I’m trying to understand the sense of what you’re saying. One time you Clevelanders are mad with him(LBJ) for leaving and the other time you are mad in how he came on national TV and made a spectacle–Miami stole your candy, every time we read an article it’s some kind of excuse–take a hand rag, dry your eyes–say a prayer and let mommy & daddy kiss you good night–go to bed now the boggy man won’t bite you–and when you wake up in the morning it’s reality–no LBJ–candy gone. Please Clevelanders get over it, enough is enough. You are grown ups life goes on.

  15. JPerz - Sep 6, 2010 at 10:23 AM

    I agree with something anonymous above me said; “Enough is enough”. Sometimes Cavs fans are mad at him for leaving, other times for the way he announced it, all the time Cavs fans want other fans to understand their feelings but it is them who doesn’t understand LBJ’s.
    This is what he wanted, to be in a more solid contender instead of keep banging himself against the same wall year after year when more stacked teams eliminate him from the playoffs. Forget about him looking like a coward, forget about him getting less money, forget about his stats going down. He said he is willing to sacrifice so you are not saying anything new or at least something he doesn’t know or considered. Just stop hating cause is not gonna do any good to the sport or the fandom, stop seeing what is not there. Ever since he left the Cavs media and fans criticize every move he does; “If he didn’t include Cleveland in a letter.”, “If he takes a picture with his MVP trophies.”, -although that one was funny- “If he didn’t talk to his ex-teammates.” WHATEVER! Just stop it cause every move he is doing has nothing to do with his decision and not everything he does in his life is about Cleveland.
    About old superstars comments; MJ, Magic and Barkley said he shouldn’t do that and they never done something like that. Well MJ and Magic had no need cause they were in already stacked teams (or a team that got stacked eventually in the case of Chicago) and Barkley said in the past that he would’ve traded his MVP for a Championship ring, I don’t know about you but that sounds to me like he would stacked the deck (earlier than he did) to get a championship even if that means he is not the head-go to player in the team. All that while you have superstars like Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett who say that if given the chance of doing it all again they would get themselves traded to Boston earlier in their careers to get more championships. Besides don’t forget that the move of KG and Allen to Boston and their eventual Championship in 08′ served as an example to LBJ. After considering all this having it in the same table at the same time ask yourself; Did he made the right move?

    • trayhawk - Nov 9, 2012 at 4:36 AM

      Thank YOU! Amen, what Lebron did in cleveland was amazing – he had no all-stars (save for 1 in mo williams) no other all-nba first teamers, or stars in their prime. He Brought so much positive attention and joy to cleveland and poured his heart and soul into that city to win. Could Kobe or MJ have gotten that ’07 team to the finals??? Or led those cleveland teams to back to back best NBA records. Wow, must have been hard for the Spurs, a stacked well-coached team to shut LBJ down b/c who the hell else could do anything. The ring talk is just preposterous. MJ – uh yeah you didn’t have to bring in anybody you had future hall of fame coach in Phil Jackson, HOF in Pippen, later future HOF in Rodman, and a damn good player in Kukoc. DOn’t give me that crap. Bird – ummm HOF’er Dennis Johnson, best front line possible ever in Parrish and Mchale. Majic- littered with stars – HOF’er in worthy and Abdul-Jabbar. Celtics- what did the classless KG win in Minnesota – nothing – get two future hall of famers and a damn good point guard – sure you win a ring. Kobe – christ -really check out first the facts in terms oh Lebron vs. him in the clutch and how Kobe actually has a +/- rating in close late games (5 minutes or less score within 5) that is negative as in he loses more close games than he wins. Lebron is a couple hundred points in the positive in that regard. Shaq was the man for his first two titiles – Lebron have anyone like that in cleveland? Hell no. Bring in another HOF’er in Malone, stud in Payton and still with shaq they lost in the finals. Odom, Gasol, Bynum, Fisher in 07-08- anyone the cavs have compare with them ever when LBJ was there – that was 07-08 and the lakers lost the finals.Same five the next year and they win. Same five the next year, where Gasol actually bests Kobe in terms of Win shares plus They Got Artest – who was not losing it by then and was a better defender than anyone LBJ had in cleveland. Forget the ring shit…LBJ did amazing work in cleveland. It was his choice and a wise one to leave. Stay where he his not surrounded by talent to win or go to a team that can contend. I say contend because check out how many “experts” DID NOT pick Miami to get and be a true contender to make it to the finals their first year. They did. LBJ is the most underappreciated and overscrutinized athlete ever. He didn’t ask to be on SI and called the “Chosen one” or have his hs games be the first to be broadcasted on ESPN. He apologized (like a man) for how he made the decision live (which btw all the proceeds which to the boys and girls club of america and thats not some token publicity stunt as LBJ is heavily involved to this day with them). Free agent, trades, whatever you think allen and garnett didn’t talk before going to to the Celtics. Christ. Ridiculous. ALways love lebron for the player and great person he is.

  16. lenny - Sep 7, 2010 at 2:20 AM

    Look when someone like oscar robertson speaks you have to listen he is the man that invented the triple double he made one heck of a point shaq did leave to the lakers but kareem demanded to get traded to the lakers what people dont understand is Lebron was a FREE AGENT he couldve signed with anybody Knicks, Bulls, Pistons, Magic, Nets or even stay with the Cavs but remember he was a free agent he didnt demand to get traded he took the cavs to the NBA Finals he won 2 MVPs in cleveland he won scoring champ we can go to 2040 but i promise you Cleveland Cavaliers will never have a player of Lebron James caliber he deserves to have his jersey in the rafters he very well could be the greatest player of all time just wait till he wins the ships in miami youll see Lebron James is the best player in the NBA today and arguably can be the greatest when its all said and done!!!!!!!

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