Today’s TBT sports blog remembers Wilt Chamberlain – one of the most iconic athletes of all-time – in any sport.
Few athletes so totally dominate a sport that their professional league must enact rule changes to make the games fair for the other 99.9% of the players.
Wilton Norman Chamberlain, simply known as Wilt, so altered NBA games that the league instituted new rules.
Today’s wider lane in the NBA and goal tending penalties were imposed because my #7 choice in Favorite Single Named Athletes vanquished all opposing basketball players.
Chamberlain overpowered basketball opponents whenever he stepped onto the hardwood. The 7’1″ and 260 lb. player effortlessly prevailed over all smaller, less physically gifted competitors. His towering size, strength, scoring ability and stamina empowered him to become the greatest player the NBA ever witnessed when he entered the league in 1959.
Wilt unanimously earned Rookie of the Year honors in 1960 for posting remarkable numbers of 37 points per game (a league best) and 27 rebounds per game. He continued his scoring assault on the NBA by leading the league in scoring for the six consecutive years.
Wilt the Stilt, The Big Dipper & Goliath
Also known as The Big Dipper, Wilt the Stilt and Goliath, Wilt reigned as an unstoppable force in the pivot – in spite of being regularly double and triple teamed during games.
This Philadelphia native and University of Kansas product now ranks as one of the NBA’s top 50 players ever. A 1978 NBA Hall of Fame inductee, Wilt’s gaudy NBA resume includes 13 All-Star selections, 4 Most Valuable Player awards, 11 rebounding titles and 2 NBA Championships. The first occurred in 1967 with the Philadelphia 76ers and the second in 1972 with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Wilt may best be remembered for becoming the only NBA player to score 100 points in a single game. On the memorable night of March 2, 1962 Wilt reached the century scoring mark against the New York Knicks in front of only 4,124 fans at the old Hershey Sports Arena. Ironically, the game was not televised. No video footage of that historic night was ever taken.
Wilt retired in 1973. His record included staggering NBA career statistics of 30.1 points per game, 22.7 rebounds per game and 4.4 assists per game. Oddly, his career FG% of 54.0 was higher than his FT% of 51.1.
Wilt Chamberlain & His NBA Nemesis Bill Russell
Wilt also battled his career long nemesis Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics. Many sports fans regard this as the greatest individual rivalry in all of team sports. Russell’s Celtics bested Chamberlain’s teams (Warriors, 76ers and Lakers) seven out of eight times they squared off against each other in the NBA Playoffs.
Wilt’s incredible dominance as an NBA player prompted many NBA fans to root against this giant of a man. The fans treatment of him led Chamberlain to famously respond, “No one ever roots for Goliath!” Sadly, Wilt passed away in 1999.
Whether you were a fan of the Big Dipper or not, no one can argue that Wilt Chamberlain was truly a dominating Goliath as a basketball player and we can all celebrate the single named legacy of this NBA superstar. There won’t be another one quite like him – Wilt.
MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!