(Originally Published on August 23, 2013)
There is no argument that Wilton Norman Chamberlain was one of the greatest players in history of the NBA. Known as The Big Dipper, the 7’1″ Chamberlain played college basketball at Kansas and began his professional career with the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors and also played for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers.
5. Battles Against Russell
One of the highlights of Wilt Chamberlain’s career was seeing him go toe-to-toe with the mythical basketball legend in Bill Russell. Wilt faced off against Russell 142 times, averaging more than 29 points and 29 rebounds. While it is known that Russell was the more successful player from a winning standpoint, Wilt was the superior player in most of their head to head matchups. Wilt scored at least 50 points against Russel on six different occasions, with a high of 62 points on January 14, 1962.
4. Wins 1960 MVP As A Rookie
In 1960 Wilt won the MVP as a rookie with the Philadelphia Warriors. He averaged 38 points and 27 rebounds, placing his stamp in professional basketball as the most dominant force to step on the basketball court. Along with MVP, Wilt also won Rookie of the Year, becoming the first player in NBA history to accomplish such a feat.
3. 55 Rebounds
Wilt was known for doing things that seemed impossible by regular basketball standards. On November 24, 1960, he grabbed 55 rebounds against the Boston Celtics and hist archival in Bill Russell. His performance on this night still stands as an NBA record, and one that in will never be broken in all likelihood.
2. NBA Finals MVP In 1972
In the 1972 season, Wilt had been asked to change his role on the Lakers with the regression of Jerry West, and the departure of Elgin Baylor. He accepted a leadership role and sacrificed his role on offense in order to anchor the Lakers’ defense. That 1971-1972 season ended up being in some opinions, the best season in the franchises’ history. They set an NBA record by winning 33 games in a row. In the 1972 Finals Wilt led the Lakers to a championship over the New York Knicks. He earned Finals MVP.
1. 100 Points
Perhaps the one thing that Wilt is most known for is his 100 point performance. He accomplished this amazing feat on March 2, 1962, against the New York Knicks, shooting 36 of 63 from the field and 28 of 32 from the free-throw line. This mark still stands as the highest single-game scoring performance in NBA history, and likely will never be broken despite Kobe Bryant coming close in 2006.