Wilt Chamberlain

Wilton Norman Chamberlain (August 21, 1936 - October 12, 1999) is regarded as one of the greatest basketball players ever, though his legacy lacks the number of championships won by teams he played for.

The 7-foot 2-inch Chamberlain, known as Wilt the Stilt or "The Big Dipper", holds nearly 100 NBA records, including the record for most points in a game -- 100, which he scored on March 2, 1962, against the New York Knicks in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He averaged over 30 points and over 22 rebounds per game for his entire career. He led the NBA in rebounding 11 times, led in shooting percentage seven times, scoring seven times and even led in assists one season. He's also blocked more shots than any player to ever play, although the record books do not recognize it; the NBA did not keep statistics on blocked shots until after Chamberlain retired.

He scored 31,419 points in 1,045 pro games. This was the best in the league when he retired in 1974, though his scoring total has since been exceeded by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who played several more seasons than Chamberlain. His career scoring average of 30.06 points is second-highest in league history, fractionally behind Michael Jordan (30.12 ppg).

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Chamberlain drew national attention playing at Overbrook High School, played two years for the University of Kansas (losing a national championship in triple overtime), and went professional in 1958. He played two years for the Harlem Globetrotters before being eligible for the NBA, then played for the Philadelphia Warriors (later San Francisco Warriors) from 1959-64, Philadelphia 76ers from 1965-68, and the Los Angeles Lakers from 1968 until his retirement in 1973. He won two championships: in 1967 with the 76ers and in 1972 with the Lakers.

His battles with Boston Celtics center Bill Russell were legendary. Wilt also earned accolades for other sports, including track and field, volleyball and auto racing, among others. He flirted with boxing and was offered a pro football contract by the-then AFL (American Football League) Kansas City Chiefs in 1966. He also was an actor, celebrity and businessman after his playing career concluded. He had authored four books before his death.


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