When Oscar Robertson, with the Milwaukee Bucks, finally won an NBA title in 1971, he had already changed the face of basketball—on and off the court—for years to come.

Oscar Robertson was the modern game’s first big guard, standing at 6 foot 5 inches.

Signed in 1960 to the Cincinnati Royals, he started playing professionally only ten years after the first black players had been hired into the NBA, when teams were still setting informal quotas for black players on their rosters. He was immediately very popular, helping draw more people into the arena in his first year than in the Cincinnati Royals’ three previous seasons combined.

Having been elected president of the NBA Players Association in 1966, he changed the way players negotiated with owners, beginning the era of collective bargaining.

Photo courtesy of Hard Road to Glory, the Milwaukee Bucks