-- Dedication to the game and community seals award for Mr. Fourth Quarter, team continues nine-season tradition of honoring Kings and NBA legend Oscar Robertson --
SACRAMENTO, CALIF., Apr. 20, 2012 -- In honor of one of the NBA’s all-time greats, the Sacramento Kings continue to celebrate the legacy of Oscar Robertson, both on and off the court, by awarding the 2012 Oscar Robertson Triple-Double Award to Isaiah Thomas.
The Oscar Robertson Triple-Double Award winner is selected by a panel of local sports media journalists and presented to the deserving Kings player who best exemplifies winning characteristics, both as an athlete and a conscientious citizen active in the community. Deconstructed, the “triple” signifies on-court accomplishments: He is a team leader, embodies the spirit of sportsmanship and plays an outstanding all-around game, whereas the “double” signifies his impact off the court by demonstrating commitment to community service and family.
Heralded as one of the finest players in NBA history, Oscar Robertson left an indelible impression on the league when he averaged a triple-double in 1961-62, posting an astounding 30.8 ppg, 12.8 rpg and 11.4 apg. The feat has not been duplicated since and remains one of sport’s most elusive statistical achievements. Robertson finished his career with 181 career triple-doubles, 41 of which he logged during the historic 61-62 campaign, each NBA records. Following his playing days, the “Big O” has channeled his energies into a number of small business ventures while maintaining a robust involvement in the community. He is active in numerous philanthropic activities, including the International Prostate Cancer Foundation, the Boys Club of New York and the National Kidney Foundation, for whom he acts as an advocate for organ donation. Robertson and his wife Yvonne are co-chairs of the University of Cincinnati's $1 billion capital campaign and have also funded the Oscar and Yvonne Robertson Scholarship Fund at the University.
Inaugurated in 2003, the Oscar Robertson Triple-Double Award honor has been bestowed to some of the most recognizable figures in Kings team history, including Chris Webber (‘03), Vlade Divac (’04), Peja Stojakovic (’05), Corliss Williamson (a back-to-back recipient in 2006 & 2007) and Thomas’ current teammate, Francisco Garcia (’09). Thomas shares many characteristics with these previous recipients, namely his impact and leadership between the lines and an enthusiastic willingness to make a difference beyond them.
Selected with the final pick at No. 60 overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, Thomas immediately shed the “Mr. Irrelevant” moniker often attached to a player chosen last, earning consecutive Western Conference Rookie of the Month honors in February and March (joining Tyreke Evans and Lionel Simmons as the only players in Kings annals to earn the distinction twice). A self-described “effort player,” Thomas’ spirited style, ability to lead his teammates and penchant for late-game clutch performances garnered him several new nicknames, including “Mr. Fourth Quarter” and “The Hustlin’ Husky.” He is currently averaging 11.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg and 4.0 apg, ranking fifth in scoring and third in assists among all rookies. Since Head Coach Keith Smart inserted him into the starting lineup on February 17, Thomas has recorded 15.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg and 5.3 apg, helping increase the Kings team scoring average from 92.6 ppg to 103.2 ppg (plus 10.6 ppg). In fact, Sacramento has improved significantly in nearly every major statistical category with Thomas as a starter, earning the Washington product strong consideration for 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year honors.
In addition to his many on-court achievements, Thomas displayed an eagerness to become a fixture in the Sacramento community from the moment he arrived in the Capital City. Through a multitude of appearances and charitable efforts, his positive impact in the region has been as visible off the hardwood as it has on the court. As part of the Kings “Season of Giving” campaign in December, Thomas visited Shriner’s Hospital where he delivered pizzas, gift bags and good tidings to sick children while taking time to dance, take pictures and sign autographs for patients and their families. In February, he joined the Kings effort to educate local youth about the importance of living healthy lifestyles by hosting Family Fitness Night at Earl Warren Elementary School, teaching attendees ball handling skills and encouraging students to stay in shape. Thomas also played a role in the team’s ninth annual Cesar Chavez Day of Volunteerism, helping unveil a refurbished playground and new Kings Reading and Leaning Center at Mark Hopkins Elementary School.
Robertson will be in attendance to present the award to Thomas tonight in an on-court presentation during the Kings contest versus Oklahoma City.
About Maloof Sports & Entertainment (MS&E):
Maloof Sports & Entertainment includes the Sacramento Kings and Power Balance Pavilion. Owned by the Maloof family with long-term, local partners, the organization is committed to being a contributing member of the Sacramento community. Teaming up with local leaders and non-profit organizations to give back to those in need throughout the region, MS&E has donated millions of dollars to charity in 12 years of Maloof family ownership. For more information about Maloof Sports & Entertainment, please visit Kings.com, PowerBalancePavilion.com or call 916-928-0000.