Oscar Robertson stiff-armed the league and blazed the trail for NBA free agency - Orlando Sentinel (blog)

Oscar Robertson stiff-armed the league and blazed the trail for NBA free agency

Oscar Robertson, NBA legend and the man who led the way  so players like Dwight Howard would have the right to become free agents, has a word of advice for Dwight in this ongoing trade saga.

"Keep your mouth shut and play basketball," said Robertson, who was a guest on our radio show  Wednesday and will be  in town during All-Star Weekend to raise awareness for prostate cancer. "If he wants to be traded, he's going to be traded. Go and talk to the owners and say, 'I want to be traded' and keep it a secret.'  In a situation like this, he can't win. …  Anytime they (Magic) stumble and fall and every time they get beat, they're going to blame Dwight Howard and it's totally unfair because it's not all his fault. I don't think management has done a great job in keeping certain players on the team. They had a nucleus of players that got them to the Finals and then, all of the sudden, it's gone downhill."

It is not surprising that Robertson would back Howard; he's been fighting for player rights since he was an NBA superstar in the 1960s and '70s.  He  sued the NBA in a landmark lawsuit in the 1970s and contended that the NBA draft and other rules restricting player movement violated antitrust laws. The suit was settled in 1976 when the league agreed to let players become free agents.

In effect, Robertson sacrificed his own future for the good of the players who came after him. After the lawsuit, he was essentially blackballed from any future NBA coaching or executive positions that almost certainly would have come his way.

"They didn't want to be bothered with Oscar Robertson because of that (the lawsuit)," said Robertson, who is proud that he and some of his contemporaries blazed the trail  so players like LeBron would have the right to make The Decision. "We were successful in getting these rights … rights for players to  be able to move once their contracts were up, the right to have better hotels, better doctors, better everything. It made basketball players like movie stars."

(NOTE TO READERS): On our Open Mike radio show this morning, we will discuss the ongoing Dwight Howard trade saga and the Magic's game last night with the New Jersey Nets. We'll also interview Sentinel UF and FSU insiders Rachel George and Coley Harvey about where the the Gators and Seminoles can be expected to be seeded in the NCAA Tournament. Other topics we will discuss include  the upcoming NBA All-Star Weekend and  the upcoming Daytona 500. If you want to listen, tune into 740 AM in Orlando every weekday from 6 to 9 a.m. or click here  if you want to listen live on-line. You can call into the radio show at 407 916-8255 or toll free 1-800-729-8255. And if you want to hit me up on Twitter and follow my clever, witty and insightful comments, click here

23 Feb, 2012

Source: http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&usg=AFQjCNGyhNmlJI2Z8VXi5Ur5FxK7FjorMQ&url=http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/sports_bianchi/2012/02/nba-icon-oscar-robertson-advises-dwight-howard-to-keep-mouth-shut-about-trade.html/comment-page-1
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