Wilt Chamberlain was a basketball icon

Wilt Chamberlain
Fri, 1936-08-21

This date marks the birth of Wilt Chamberlain in 1936. He was an African American basketball player who won seven consecutive NBA scoring titles and is the NBA's third all-time leading scorer.

He was born Wilton Norman Chamberlain in Philadelphia. Chamberlain had four sisters, Barbara, Margaret, Selina, and Yvonne, and two brothers, Wilbert and Oliver. Heralded (at the time) as the best prep player in the nation, Chamberlain led his Overbrook High School team to a 58-3 record and two city championships. Scoring 52 points in his 1956 college debut for the University of Kansas, Chamberlain led the Jayhawks to a 24-3 record and the national finals. Though known for his surpassing height, it was Chamberlain's all-around athletic skills that made him a premier performer. In 1962, as a professional, Chamberlain averaged 50.4 points a game; a year later he scored 100 points in a single game against the New York Knickerbockers.

Chamberlain played for the NBA's Philadelphia Warriors, the Golden State Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Los Angeles Lakers. He won the league's Most Valuable Player award four times, and was an All-Star every year of his career except 1970. In addition to his prolific scoring, Chamberlain is also the leading rebounder in NBA history, averaging 22.9 a game. He led the league in that category for 11 seasons, and set the single game mark with 55. Chamberlain won championships with the 76ers in 1967 and the Lakers in 1972.

Responding to the charge that he played selfishly, Chamberlain retooled his game late in his career, placing greater emphasis on passing and defense. He led the NBA in assists in 1967-1968 and was named to the league All-Defensive team in 1972 and 1973. He revolutionized the game, inspiring rule changes and creating a premium role for the big scoring and rebounding center. For over 14 seasons, "Wilt the Stilt" or, as he preferred, "The Big Dipper," averaged 30.1 points a game, second only to Michael Jordan. Chamberlain was elected to the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1978.

He helped found the International Volleyball Association and has sponsored several Southern California track teams. Wilt Chamberlain died in October 1999.

NBA History

To become a Professional Athlete

Person / name: 

Chamberlain, Wilt