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When I was growing up in the 1990s it was always Jordan or Wilt. I remember watching Sportscenter before school the morning after another great game from Michael Jordan. The question being asked, “Has Michael Jordan passed Wilt Chamberlain?” Now suddenly in the year 2020, Wilt has fallen out of the top 5? I keep seeing recent lists with some pushing him to 11. Luckily, our own Charlie Bowles has Wilt ranked number 2 keeping the sanity around here. Bill Furman from Philly Pressbox Radio thinks without question Wilt is the GOAT. Let us dive into Wilt Chamberlain.
The Big Dipper
Wilt Chamberlain was a 7’1″, 275-pound monster that transformed the NBA Game. In 15 seasons, he averaged 30.1 PPG and 22.9 RPG with a shooting percentage of 54%. And No, they weren’t all dunks (though they certainly helped the average) which is a common myth. He had this fadeaway bank sometimes baby hook that looked like a combination of Kareem, Olajuwon, & Duncan into one shot. His go-to move was the finger roll. Wilts size, athleticism, and skill was something the NBA had never seen and completely changed the game. He could pass like a point guard but bang down low as well. This was new to everyone at the time.
The common stat remembered is Wilt scoring 100 points in a game but this guy has so many statistical accomplishments that still stand today it is truly unbelievable. Wilt Chamberlain dominates the NBA record book with 72 records (68 of which he holds by himself). Michael Jordan has scored 50 points or more 31 times in his career and Wilt did it 45 times in ONE SEASON! During the 1961-1962 season, her averaged 48.5 MPG while dropping 50.4 PPG and 25.7 RPG too! LOAD MANAGEMENT? He averaged 45.8 MPG for his career. After being labeled a ball hog, he went out and LED the LEAGUE in ASSISTS as a CENTER!
The list goes on…
- 2× NBA champion (1967, 1972)
- NBA Finals MVP (1972)
- 4× NBA Most Valuable Player (1960, 1966–1968)
- 13× NBA All-Star (1960–1969, 1971–1973)
- NBA All-Star Game MVP (1960)
- 7× All-NBA First Team (1960–1962, 1964, 1966–1968)
- 3× All-NBA Second Team (1963, 1965, 1972)
- 2× NBA All-Defensive First Team (1972, 1973)
- NBA Rookie of the Year (1960)
- 7× NBA scoring champion (1960–1966)
- 11× NBA rebounding champion (1960–1963, 1966–1969, 1971–1973)
- NBA assists leader (1968)
- No. 13 retired by Golden State Warriors
- No. 13 retired by Philadelphia 76ers
- No. 13 retired by Los Angeles Lakers
- NBA 35th Anniversary Team
- NBA 50th Anniversary Team
- NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player (1957)
- 2× Consensus first-team All-American (1957, 1958)
- No. 13 jersey retired by Kansas Jayhawks
- Mr. Basketball USA (1955)
Back in the 1960s, there were only 12 teams so the competition was more fierce then people like to believe. Wilt was not the only 7 footer either, just Google Walter Dukes or Swede Halbrook both 7 footers during that time. You also had 6′ 11″ HOFer Walt Bellamy who averaged 20.1 PPG and 13.1 RPG. What about Nate Thurmond and Willis Reed? Of course, we won’t forget the 11-time NBA Champion, Bill Russell. Wilt once had 55 rebounds in a game against Russell. You would need a whole article to dive into the matchup between those two. Does anyone know of Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, or Oscar Robertson? I am sure I am missing some but the idea that Wilt played against nobodies is just false. The 1960s into the 1970s eras were just as competitive as any time in NBA history.
How about Kareem Abdul Jabbar?
Early on in the NBA rulebook, you were allowed to getting a running start when taking free throws allowing you to cross the line. Well, Wilt would just bank the ball off the backboard and dunk the ball from the foul line with a running start. Most players would be attempting a shot in the air so crossing the foul line was eliminated from the game. They also widened the lane to 16 ft and took away the ability to inbound the ball over the backboard because of you know who. Lets also not forget there was no shot clock either.
“Just remember Michael. When you played, they changed the rules to make it easier for you to dominate. When I played, they changed the rules to make it harder for me”Wilt Chamberlain to Michael Jordan on who is the GOAT (Michael had No Response)
Personally, I never saw Wilt play the game besides the highlight reels we get off the internet. I wish I did but I simply wasn’t alive. I think those who were not around should do some research on Wilt Chamberlain. The GOAT argument will always be never-ending. Michael Jordan is number 1 in my book and Wilt is right there. He is still the greatest center to play the game and could jump right into today’s NBA game and all the eras before him. Wilt is #2 for me but shouldn’t be outside of the top 5 for anyone.
Co-Host & Writer for Edge of Philly Sports
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