Since his exit of the league in 1973 no player has made an impact upon the game of basketball like the great Wilt Chamberlain. His talents during this era were off the chart, his ability to drive the basketball extremely advanced for the time, all around Chamberlain was the total package on the floor. A unique personality and confidence in his abilities projected Wilt into the role of a loved and hated man. Through the years, interviews, and books brought to surface, a desire for hoards of women and his love of partying late into the night. Despite these crazy antics, Chamberlain helped pave the road for the modern NBA, transcending basketball for an image that went further than any player before his time. Because of his on the court greatness and presence in the media, Chamberlain became ingrained into mainstream American sports during the 1960s and 70s and has become an iconic cultural image of past NBA days.
-Up until 1959 the NBA game had never seen a player that emulated the style, poise, and the sheer basketball talents of the legendary Wilt Chamberlain. Chamberlain on the court was simply great and literally unstoppable as his freakish blend of size (7’1”, 275) and athletic ability was unprecedented. In the beginning of his career, utter dominance is the only way to describe what Wilt accomplished. As a Rookie he averaged 37.6 points a game and had 27 rebounds. His first appearance was made for the Philadelphia, 76ers on October 14th, 1959 and from this point on Basketball was changed forever as the term, and “super star” began to resonate with NBA fans across the country.
As Chamberlain settled into the NBA his stats improved, and he became the first player to accumulate over 2,000 rebounds; at the time this feat was unimaginable. During these years Chamberlain continued to embarrass the opposition and in his third season in the league he put up ridiculous numbers averaging 50.4 points a game and 25.7 rebounds a game. Despite these stats, his 100- point performance in March of 1962, today still stands as most likely the greatest single game achievement of all time in any sport. The thought of somehow being able to score 100 points in a professional setting, is a tribute to the greatness of one player, whomever the competition or other team. From here forward he was solidified as a player that was special, and player that was vital to the league, as he brought basketball to the forefront of American pop culture. From this perspective Wilt’s personality and raw cockiness helped define the league we watch today. Although extremely successful individually, Wilt could never win a championship as a Warrior and eventually he wore out his welcome in town.
– Chamberlains next bouts in Philadelphia and Los Angeles added to greatness, however Wilt began to show his persona off the court with many controversial comments he made when talking to the press. During his tenure with the 76ers the Celtics took down Chamberlain and his championship aspirations once again as Bill Russell become his main competiton. The 1967 season represents a special time for Wilt where everything came together with those around him. Although not as statistically dominant as in years past, Wilt became much more efficient and when things came together he became a champion.
– Chamberlains move to Los Angeles marked a new chapter in an established career, and being located on the West Coast helped Wilt, continue his presence in the media. His relationship with Lakers coach Butch Van Breda Kolff was added to a long list of issues people around him. In 1972 Wilt helped the Los Angeles Lakers win their first NBA title in history. His performance of 24 points, 29 boards, 8 assists and 8 blocked shots helped him win an Finals MVP and solidified him as a foundational member of the great Lakers franchise history of greatness.
For additional cards/autographs/memorabilia please check out www.walloffamesports.com