Amidst rumors the NBA is considering raising the league’s minimum age requirement from 19 to 20 when the next basic agreement comes up for discussion, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Bob Woofley had the pleasure of speaking with Hall Of Famer Oscar Robertson (above).
Q. What do you think of the NBA’s age requirement?
A. Actually I have checked this with some attorneys before I got here. It’s illegal. It’s illegal. If you can go into the Army at 18 and fight in Iraq and maybe get killed, why shouldn’t you be able to come into the NBA? That (rule) is only to appease colleges. That’s what it’s all about. . . . I’m glad you brought this up. The problem is that you don’t have to give a kid a contract. Why give a kid a contract if you don’t want him on the team? If he’s 18 and you don’t want him on your team, don’t give him a contract.
Q.Who is the best player in the NBA today?
A. I don’t know. There are so many. LeBron. Naturally, Kobe. Chris Paul, who may be the MVP this year. But they (media) are not pushing him for that award. Isn’t that amazing? When Steve Nash was the MVP, they pushed him all year to be the MVP. Why don’t they do the same thing with Chris Paul?
Q. Can a great team have an average coach and win an NBA championship?
A. A lot of them have done that. Sure.
Q. So great players make great coaches?
A. I’m going to tell you a little story. This was (1980) . . . when Louisville beat UCLA in the final up in Indianapolis. The game was tight and Darrell Griffith made three or four jump shots and won the game. So they asked Denny Crum about his strategy. He said, “I had no strategy. I had Darrell Griffith.”