Wilt Chamberlain Rookie Cards

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During the 1959 NBA Draft, the Philidelphia Warriors selected Wilt Chamberlain via a Territorial Selection. He has one official rookie card.

Chamberlin is considered one of the All-Time Greats of the game and one of the most dominant players in NBA history. Monte Johnson, a former teammate, has been quoted saying, “Wilt had unbelievable endurance and speed…and was never tired.”

He had multiple nicknames but wasn’t a fan of any of them, except for one, “The Big Dipper.”

The Younger Wilt Chamberlain

Growing up Chamberlin was not interested in basketball at all, he claimed it was, “a game for sissies.” He was interested in track and field instead but growing up in Philadelphia he realized that basketball was the most popular game to play.

In 1958 Wilt joined the Harlem Globetrotters, and was able to perform in Moscow in 1959. Afterward, Chamberlin made his NBA debut on October 24, 1959, for the Philadelphia Warriors.

In his first NBA game against the New York Knicks he scored 43 points and 28 rebounds. He instantly became an All-Star in the League.

The Instant Impact of Wilt Chamberlain

He quickly became the highest-paid along with Rookie of the Year honors. His greatest feat came on March 2, 1962, when he scored 100 points against the same New York Knicks, he was 36 of 63 from the field and made 28 of 32 free throws.

Also, in 1962, he scored 42 points in the All-Star Game, to this day still an all-time record.

The most ironic thing that happened in his 14-year career was earning MVP awards in 1967 then halfway through the 68 seasons he gets traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.

That was an NBA first, but he did join a team with Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor and Jerry West. The Lakers with the help of Wilt Chamberlin went on to win the Championship in 1972.

Fun Facts About Wilt Chamberlain

  • Chamberlin was in the movie “Conan the Destroyer” with Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1984.
  • His game was at such a level of dominance that it caused the NBA to change the rules of the game.
  • Wilt was a physical specimen, so much so, he was given an offer to play with the Cleveland Cavaliers at the age of 45.
  • Chamberlin was a very successful businessman and dealt in stocks, real estate, nightclub owner, etc.

Career Stats and Accomplishments

Wilt Chamberlain played in the NBA for 15 seasons: Philidelphia Warriors 6 years (aka Golden State Warriors), Philidelphia 76ers 4 years,  and 5 years with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Career Average: 30.1 points | 22.9 rebounds | 4.4 assists per game.

Career Summary: Games 1,045 | Points 31,419 | Total Rebounds 23,924 | Triple Doubles 78.

Accomplishments:

  • 1959-60 Rookie of the Year
  • 1959-60 All-Star MVP
  • 1967-68 Assist Champion
  • 13x All-Star
  • 11x Total Rebound Champion
  • 10x All-NBA
  • 7x Scoring Champion
  • 4x League MVP
  • 4x Sporting News MVP
  • 2x NBA Champion (1967, 1972)
  • 1971-72 Finals MVP
  • 2x All-Defensive
  • 1979 Hall of Fame Induction

True Rookie Card of Hall of Famer

Wilt Chamberlain

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1961-62 Fleer, #8

Philadelphia-based company Fleer made their debut in 1961 and printed this 66 card basketball set featuring an excellent lineup of All-Star / Rookie cards.

The set had an immediate impact since it was the first basketball set printed by anyone since 1957. Card design screams vintage with a bold color scheme.

I had to zoom in on the team mascot on the upper right corner, at first glance it looked like a rabbit to me but as I looked closer I noticed it was, in fact, an Indian dribbling a basketball hence the name Warriors.

The card back lacks personality but it does give us a player bio, commentary, and stats.


Rookie Year Card


1961-62 Fleer, #47

A long-time hobby standard is that a player’s first card in any one set is the one that’s considered the rookie card.

So that makes card #8 previously featured the “true rookie” card of Wilt Chamberlain.

Any other cards featured in the set can be considered “rookie year” cards. Still collectible, still valuable, but not the rookie card. This is the case with card #47 featuring The Big Dipper.

This was a subset featured in the 1961 Fleer set that includes an “in action” photograph. Very few NBA cards available in the 1960s, the next available card featuring Wilt is in the 1968-69 Topps set.

 

Happy Collecting Collectors,

Learn. Collect. Enjoy.


Sources:
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “Wilt Chamberlain.” Hoophall.com. http://www.hoophall.com/hall-of-famers/wilt-chamberlain/ (accessed March 17, 2017).
Wilt Chamberlain Stats | Basketball-Reference.com https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/c/chambwi01.html (accessed March 17, 2017).
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