On October 19th in 1960, Jerry West and Oscar Robertson made their NBA debut for the Los Angeles Lakers and the Cincinnati Royals respectively. The game, which was the Lakers' first home game of their inaugural season in Los Angeles, finished with the Royals winning 140-123.
Robertson finished with a 21-point, 12-rebound, and 10-assist triple-double for arguably the greatest debuts in NBA history. Meanwhile, West finished with 20 points and five assists.
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Leading the Royals to a 33-46 record for the 1960-61 season, a 14-win improvement, Robertson went on average a near triple-double in his rookie season - 30.5 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 9.7 assists. He went on to win Rookie of the Year for those numbers.
On the other hand, West with rookie season averages of 17.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 4.2 assists, played a huge role in the Lakers finishing with a 36-43 record - an 11-win improvement.
This Robertson-West duel came just over a month after the duo was part of the United States men's basketball team at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Italy. Considered one of the greatest amateur sports teams in basketball history, they went an undefeated 8-0 to bring back the gold medal - the United States' fourth consecutive.
This team was elected to the US Olympic Hall of Fame in 1984 and later in 2010, along with the 1992 'Dream Team', it was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Other notable events on Oct. 19:
- In 1961, Wilt Chamberlain's NBA record 126-game streak of scoring 20 or more points began in the 1961-62 season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers. The streak, which includes his NBA record 100-point game and a seven-game span of scoring 50 or more, ended on January 19, 1963.
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