Oscar Robertson Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
From University of Cincinnati Entrepreneurship Center
Dr. Charles H. Matthews (left), executive director of the UC Entrepreneurship Center, and Jeff Wyler, chairman of the UC Board of Trustees and the Entrepreneurship Center's Advisory Board, congratulate The Big O upon receipt of his Lifetime Achievement Award for Entrepreneurship. (Photo courtesy of the University of Cincinnati)
CINCINNATI: Oscar Robertson, more commonly known for his unparalleled achievements on the basketball court, received a Lifetime Achievement Award for Entrepreneurship at the University of Cincinnati College of Business Entrepreneurship Center's 10th anniversary banquet on May 15, 2008. The Big O was recognized for his achievements as a business owner and CEO over the past three decades.
Dr. Charles H. Matthews, executive director of the Entrepreneurship Center, noted that The Lifetime Achievement Award for Entrepreneurship is "given in recognition of the drive to high standards, dedication to a vision, determination to succeed, leadership in the community, and generosity to others which has been consistently demonstrated throughout a lifetime of successful entrepreneurial pursuits. Oscar Robertson is among the very few who fit this description to the letter."
One of the nation's leading small business owners, Robertson presently heads companies active in the fields of document and facilities management (OR Solutions), publishing (Oscar Robertson Media Ventures), and specialty chemicals (Orchem). The latter company recently expanded into the healthcare market with its Spectrum 24 line of "green" cleaning products, and into the consumer product arena with an enzyme-based, environmentally-friendly line of stain remover wipes under the product name "FadeAway." The Big O also served as a board member of Countrywide Financial Corporation, the nation's leading mortgage lender, until its acquisition by Bank of America.
Robertson graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1960 with a degree in business. In 2007, he was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters by his alma mater. Robertson and his wife Yvonne are co-chairs of the University's current $1 billion capital campaign.
Robertson's business acumen was evident from the beginning of his professional basketball career. He was one of the first players, if not the first, to employ an attorney to negotiate his contracts, gaining a no-trade clause and a percentage of gate receipts during his tenure with the Cincinnati Royals. As President of the NBA Players Association from 1965-1974, he filed a class action anti-trust lawsuit to prevent a merger between the NBA and the American Basketball Association until issues regarding the reserve clause, the draft, and player movement between teams could be resolved. As a result of a settlement known as the Oscar Robertson Rule, NBA Players became the first professional athletes to achieve free agency, forever changing the balance of power in professional sports and leading to a new era of growth and prosperity for the NBA.
Founded in 1997, the University of Cincinnati E-Center vision and mission is to provide a state-of-the-art entrepreneurship curriculum and research not only for potential student entrepreneurs, but also for people in the many organizations that interact with small, entrepreneurial and family-owned businesses on a daily basis. Under the leadership of the Center's founder, Dr. Charles H. Matthews, the University of Cincinnati has been ranked as one of the top 50 programs for Entrepreneurship in the U.S. by Success Magazine and one of the top 100 programs in the U.S. by Entrepreneur Magazine. Its student entrepreneurs have won first place in four of last eight national case study competitions hosted by the Institute for Small Business.
"With His Knack for Leadership, Oscar Robertson Finds the Keys to Success On-and Off-the Court," Portfolio Magazine, University of Cincinnati College of Business, October 2009