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Cincinnati Royals

From Ohio History Central

Robertson, Oscar and Lucas, Jerry.jpg
Cincinnati Royals stars, Oscar Robertson and Jerry

Lucas, pose with basketballs, September 18, 1963.

The Cincinnati Royals was a professional basketball team in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Royals originated in Rochester, New York, but moved to Cincinnati in 1957 where the team played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1957 to 1972.

The Royals struggled during their early years in Cincinnati, posting losing records during the first four years, despite the presence of NBA all-stars Maurice Stokes, Jack Tywman and Clyde Lovelette. Beginning in the early 1960s, the team experienced more success with the additions of future hall-of-famers Oscar Robertson and Jerry Lucas. From 1961 through the 1965 season, the Royals posted winning records and finished second in their division twice. In 1963, the Royals had the second best record in the NBA, 55-25, and in 1964, Oscar Robertson was named the NBA’s most valuable player and Jerry Lucas was named Rookie of the Year, a rare occurrence in NBA history. Robertson and Lucas were also named All-NBA First Team together three times, 1965, 1966, and 1968. Although the Royals qualified for the NBA playoffs during the early 1960s, they never won an NBA title in Cincinnati.

In 1966, Cincinnati hosted the NBA All-Star Game at Cincinnati Gardens, and three Royals starred in the game. However, the Royals’ fortunes began to decline and the team did not play above the .500 level for the next five seasons. In 1971, the franchise moved to the Kansas City area and was known as the Kansas City-Omaha Kings, and later the Kansas City Kings. In 1985, the franchise moved to Sacramento, California.


See Also


  1. Sacramento Kings 2007-2008 Media Guide.
  2. Shultz, Gerry. Cincinnati's Basketball Royalty: A Brief History: A Look Back at 15 years of Cincinnati Royals NBA Basketball. United States, 2016.