Chamberlin is considered one of the All-Time Greats of the game and one of the most dominant players in NBA history. Monte Johnson, 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.”
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. Afterwards 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.
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 half way through the 68 season 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.
Wilt developed heart trouble later in life and passed at the young age of 63.
Did You Know:
- 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.
ROOKIE CARD OF HALL OF FAMER WILT CHAMBERLAIN
1961-62 Fleer, Card No. 8 (shop eBay)
Philadelphia based company Fleer made their debut in 1961 and printed this 66 card basketball set featuring an excellent line up of All Star / Rookie cards. The set had immediate impact since it was the first basketball set printed by anyone since 1957. Card design screams vintage but lacks in 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.
As of the date of this post: low graded copies sell between $330.00-$670.00; mid-grade copies sell between $950.00-$1650.00; and high end grades sell in the $4500.00 -$32,000.00 range.