Joseph (Joe) Roberts (born May 18, 1936) is an American former professional basketball player. Born in Columbus, Ohio, Roberts played for Ohio State University’s 1960 NCAA champions, and later played in the NBA for the Syracuse Nationals before going into coaching. Roberts also played with Hall-of-Famers Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek, and Bobby Knight. Coach Fred Taylor also was a Hall-of-Famer for Ohio State.
Roberts was drafted in the third round by the NBA’s Syracuse Nationals. He was a reserve at both forward positions behind stars Dolph Schayes, Lee Shaffer, and Johnny Kerr. He played with the Nats three seasons, with the Nats making the playoffs each year under coach Alex Hannum. The Nats were very good, but could not get past the Boston Celtics in their division.
Feeling that his race was limiting his opportunities, Roberts declined to stay with the team when they became the Philadelphia 76ers in 1963. He did return to play for the Kentucky Colonels of the ABA for one season in 1967, the ABA’s first year. He was disappointed to again be a reserve.
He later became an assistant coach for Western Michigan in the Mid-American Conference, then Iowa in the Big Ten, before being an assistant for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and coach Al Attles for five years. The Warriors, led by MVP Rick Barry, won the NBA championship in 1975.
Career highlights and awards
NCAA Champion (1960)