Wilt Chamberlain was considered to be one of the best offensive players of basketball history. His energy and force was unstoppable and is counted among one of the greats. He had to probably work a bit harder during his times as African Americans were not given many chances in the past.
Born Wilton Norman Chamberlain on 21st August 1936 in Philadelphia, he was one of nine children. His mother Olivia was a homemaker and worked as a house worker outside. His Father William worked in one of Philadelphia’s publishing companies. While still in school he made it to the Junior High School basketball team, and when practicing on the grounds often played with older players. This was what framed his style and game as he learnt to play tough games right from an early age. In 1952 Wilt attended the Overbrook High School and he towered the others at 6’11” and his love for the game grew stadily.
Wilt’s game was astounding and during his high school basketball days his point surpassed 2,200 in just three seasons. This resulted in almost two hundred universities that offered to recruit the legendary great. He, however, chose to move to the University of Kansas as he preferred smaller cities and most importantly wanted to play for the Midwest. Another reason was because he wanted to be coached under Phog Allen. During his college days he was selected twice to the All-Americans team and his average was over thirty points. However, Wilt decided to quit college and play professionally, unfortunately he wasn’t accepted to join the NBA because he left Kansas before the final season. His next move was to join the Harlem Globetrotters, and as a Globetrotter he travelled all around the world and entertained everyone with his overall game skills.
The legend was so impeccable at his game that he never fouled-out during his 14 year career as a basketball player. In 1959 Chamberlain joined the NBA’s Philadelphia Warriors. His game was so aggressive and goal oriented that the opposing teams could hardly stop him, and took to easier tasks of just containing him. In 1959-60 he had the highest average of 37.9 points per game which was 8 points higher than the other players in the league. During that time he earned the distinction of being the first person to receive two awards in the same season, “The Most Valuable Player” and “Rookie of the Year” awards.
He earned the name “Wilt the Stilt” and “The Big Dipper” because of his abilities and skills in scoring as well as rebounding, although the opposing teams resorted to fouls to stop him. He scored big in the record books which are, until today, unbeatable accomplishments. Wilt managed to score 4,000 points in a single NBA season. He also holds NBA single game records for the most points (100), most rebounds (55), and highest consecutive field goals (18), the 50.4 average points in a game during 1961-62 and in the same year the 48.5 minutes per game average.
After retiring his career points totaled to 31,419 and were improved on by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar later down the years. He was also considered to be one of the leagues best rebounder for 11 of the total 14 seasons played. Some of his honors include, NBA champion (1967, ’72), elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, NBA Finals MVP (1972), All-NBA First team (1960, ’61, ’62, ’64, ’66,’67, ’68), One of the 50 Greatest Players in the History of NBA (1996).
Chamberlin died in his California home on October 12, 1999. Although he is remembered to be a noted dominant player on the court, he never was a revenge seeker or enforcer, and controled his emotions and body on court, being the sportsman he was.