Wilt Chamberlain is widely known as one of the greatest basketball players in the history of the NBA. He has left a notable mark in sport’s history through his successful career and outstanding sportsmanship.
Chamberlain was an ideal basketball player who has set the bar extremely high for other aspiring players to sum it all up.
Wilt was born in 1936 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to a family of nine. Chamberlain was athletic as a kid, but he was not interested in basketball. However, basketball was a pretty famous sport in Philadelphia, so he eventually inclined towards this sport.
Chamberlain’s physical strength and shot-blocking abilities earned him fame in high school. He was popularly known as “Wilt the Stilt,” “Goliath,” and his favorite, “The Big Dipper.”
Wilt Chamberlain had an eventful career that started in 1958 and lasted till 1974.
Harlem Globetrotters (1958–1959)
Wilt wanted to become a professional basketball player before finishing his senior year. But the NBA did not accept players who are in high school. In 1958, Chamberlain decided to join Harlem Globetrotters instead.
Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors (1959–1965)
He finally started his career as a professional basketball player by playing for the Philadelphia Warriors in 1959.
In his debut game against the New York Knicks, Wilt scored 43 points and 28 rebounds. From the beginning, his outstanding performance earned him NBA Most Valuable Player in four regular seasons and NBA Rookie of the Year awards.
Unfortunately, Wilt was always jeered at by his fans and the media. However, Wilt continued to focus on his career and kept on winning titles. In 1961, he was the first player to break the 3,000-point barrier.
The Warriors were facing financial problems in the next season, and they had to trade Chamberlain back to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Philadelphia 76ers (1965–1968)
After the trade, Chamberlain started playing with the Philadelphia 76ers with the same incredible performance. Just like the Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers were also unable to beat the Celtics.
But that did not stop Chamberlain from winning another MVP in the year 1966. Later on, Chamberlain was promised a part of the club by Ike Richman. But before closing the deal, Richman died, leaving Chamberlain infuriated. At first, Wilt volunteered to be a player-coach instead, but then he changed his mind into being traded with the Lakers.
Los Angeles Lakers (1968–1973)
As Chamberlain joined the Lakers, he witnessed that, like all other teams, the Lakers were also struggling against the Celtics. Soon after joining, the Lakers became an instant favorite, and they won the 1969 NBA finals.
Chamberlain became the victim of the most controversial NBA history coaching decisions. In a match against the Celtics, Chamberlain hurt his leg and had 6 minutes left to play. The Lakers were trailing by nine points, and the coach decided to bench Chamberlain. With only three minutes left, he wanted to return to the court. But the coach did not let him, resulting in the victory of the Celtics. The fans suspected that Chamberlain was faking his injury because he was too copped out to play.
The 1972–73 NBA season was Chamberlain’s last year on the court. The Lakers were in bad form. Flynn Robinson and LeRoy Ellis had left, Jerry West and Chamberlain were struggling with injuries. Chamberlain still managed to score 13.2 points and 18.6 rebounds and snatching the rebounding crown again.
San Diego Conquistadors (1973–1974)
Chamberlain was the player-coach for the San Diego Conquistadors. The Lakers sued Chamberlain, which prevented him from playing for the team. This was the last team he worked with before retiring from professional basketball.
Notable Awards and Achievements
Wilt Chamberlain has won uncountable awards throughout his career. He holds forty-six official NBA all-time records, among them 25 regular-season records. His records and awards have left fans completely awestruck.
Wilt Chamberlain was a friendly and humble man. Even though he was famous, he had to face many controversies from the media. He tackled them and kept winning awards. He died at the age of 63, leaving a huge mark in the history of basketball.