What’s up sports fans??? As you know, this is Black History Month. In celebration of this “short” month, I want to reflect on the accomplishments of one of the most dominating figures in sports history….the late, great Wilt Chamberlain. He was the NBA’s most powerful presence! With the likes of Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal, we tend to forget how special Chamberlain was.
Standing at 7′ 1″ and weighing 275 lbs as a rookie for the then Philadelphia/ San Francisco Warriors, Wilt Chamberlain, also known as “Wilt the Stilt”, “Chairman of the Boards”, and the “Big Dipper”, was a freak of nature. Chamberlain holds NBA records that are staggering. He averaged 37.6 points per game as a rookie. He scored 50 or more points in 118 of his career professional games. He is the only player to score 100 points in a game. He also owns the record for most consecutive field goals (18) in a game and even grabbed 55 rebounds in one outing (The record setting 72-10 Chicago Bulls team reached 55 rebounds in a game only twice during the 1995-1996 season). Chamberlain scored 30 or more points in 65 consecutive games, as well as 20 or more points in 126 straight games. If your eyes are bulging out of the sockets now, hold tight because I am about to get into his most impressive contributions. In an entire season, he averaged 50.4 points a game and in 1200 games of play, he never fouled out of a contest (regular season and post season combined). If you don’t think that’s incredible, something is wrong with you.
Chamberlain’s dominance sparked many rule changes in the NBA; widening the free throw lane, better known as “The Paint”, the implementation of offensive goaltending, inbounding of the basketball and the overall structure of free throw shooting.
Other than the Warriors, Chamberlain played for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers, winning championships for both franchises. He was also a Harlem Globetrotter! As a Laker, Chamberlain would be involved in one of the greatest and most intriguing individual rivalries in NBA history. His nemesis, Boston Celtic great Bill Russell. They would face each other in the postseason eight times and sadly Chamberlain came out victorious only once.
Chamberlain’s career resulted in two NBA titles, a Finals MVP in 1972, four NBA MVPs, 10 All-NBA Team honors, a rookie of the year earning in 1960, and induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978. So who’s the best player in the game? Some might say Jordan, and others will go with Magic Johnson or Russell. I will reference one of my favorite quotes from NBA legend Oscar Robertson, “When asked whether or not Wilt was the best ever, I quote “The books don’t lie”.
Written by Keith Madyun