The reaction of [Ni(COD)2] (COD; cyclooctadiene) in THF with the NNN-pincer ligand bis(imino)pyridyl (L1) reveals a susceptibility to oxidation in an inert atmosphere ([O2] level <0.5 ppm), resulting in a transient Ni:dioxygen adduct. This reactive intermediate abstracts a hydrogen atom from THF and stabilizes an uncommon Ni(III) complex. The complex is crystallographically characterized by a molecular formula of [NiIII(L1··)2-(OH)] (1). Various isotopically labeled experiments (16O/18O) assertively endorse the origin of terminal oxygen based ligand in 1 due to the activation of molecular dioxygen. The presence of proton bound to the terminal oxygen in 1 is well supported by NMR, IR spectroscopy, DFT calculations, and hydrogen atom transfer (HAT) reactions promoted by 1. The observation of shakeup satellite peaks for the primary photoelectron lines of Ni(2p) in the X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) unambiguously confirms the paramagnetic signature associated with the distorted square planar nickel ion, which is consistent with the trivalent oxidation state assigned for the nickel ion in 1. The variable temperature magnetic susceptibility data of 1 shows dominant antiferromagnetic interactions exist among the paramagnetic centers, resulting in an overall S = 1/2 ground state. Variable temperature X-band EPR studies performed on 1 show evidence for the S = 1/2 ground state, which is consistent with magnetic data. The unusual g-tensor extracted for the ground state S = 1/2 is analyzed under a strong exchange limit of spin-coupled centers. The electronic structure predicted for 1 is in good agreement with theoretical calculations.