Story of the Week

WILT CHAMBERLAIN

    Wilt Chamberlain is the subject of this weekís story. As I write this article, I must fight my inclination to compare other NBA centers down through the years to Wilt for the purpose of convincing you that he is the greatest center of all time. In my opinion, he is the best center of all time. I can also make a strong case for Wilt being the greatest player in NBA history period.

    But it is impossible to say that any player or team is the "best ever" at any position or sport. We all have a different set of criteria that would constitute such an award. These "greatest ever" arguments simply cannot be proved, no matter what the subject. A couple of my buddies and I have debated certain sports subjects comparing the "best ever" for years; we are no closer to agreement now than we were when we began, but itís been fun, and it will continue to be fun. After all, sports junkies love to debate.

    Having stated this, letís get back to Wilt. In addition to being a legendary basketball player in high school and at Kansas University, he was an agile track and field star. It showed in the NBA. He stood 7í1" tall. His weight was listed at 275 pounds, but he "filled out and bulked up" to more than 300 pounds as a pro. And he had the brute strength to block a dunk on more than one occasion.

    "The Stilt" played in the NBA for 14 seasons with the Philadelphia Warriors, the San Francisco Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Los Angeles Lakers. During those 14 seasons, his teams won the NBA title only twice, but that doesnít tell the whole story. 

    In eight of those years, Chamberlain faced off against the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs. The Celtics had a complete team at every position, both starting and bench. For too many of his years in the NBA, Wilt was his team. A classic rivalry between Wilt and Celtics Center Bill Russell highlighted the 1960ís. The only personal rivalry Iíve ever seen in the NBA that compared to it was Magic vs Bird.

    Wilt retired after the 1972-73 season as a Laker. His NBA career stats are incredible. He scored 100 points in a single game, a record. He pulled down 55 rebounds in a single game, a record. He averaged 22.9 rebounds per game during his career, a record. He averaged 30.1 points per game for his 14 years, but in his first seven seasons, he scored an average 39.4 points per game, and led the NBA in scoring all seven seasons. As prolific a scorer as he was, Wilt averaged more assists per game than did Russell or Kareem; Iíve always found this fascinating in that Russell and Kareem played on far better teams. 

    I plan to do an article eventually on sports records that I feel will never be broken; Wilt Chamberlain owns several of them.

Last Weekís Trivia

    Who is the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for an entire season? Oscar Robertson accomplished this amazing feat during the 1961-62 season as a member of the Cincinnati Royals. "The Big O" is recognized as one of the greatest and most versatile players of all time.

Trivia Question of the Week

    When did the 7th. inning stretch in baseball originate? See next weekís Sports Junkie for the answer.