Video highlights of 17 year old “Wilton Chamberlain”
It’s amazing how tall Wilt was compared to everyone yet he looked so skinny that you were afraid he’d fall through the seems of the hardwood. Almost Manute Bol status. The second most impressive thing about Wilt in this video is the size of his hands. You can see him demonstrating how easily he can grip the ball without using all 5 fingers.
But I think that also limited him. In the video you can see how he almost pushes or throws the ball on his jumper instead of gently casting the ball off. I’ve seen other video clips of Wilt playing in the NBA and he has the same shooting for, almost as if he’s launching the ball from his palm and not his finger tips. Makes me wonder how much better The Stilt would have been had he developed a Hakeem-esque jumper. How many more scoring records would he hold today?
Ultimately, his jumper wasn’t what made Wilt unstoppable, so it’s a moot point. What made Wilt was his size combined with his agility. The was his legs would fluidly travel up and down the court and around defenders. It was his long arms combined with his supreme jumping ability that would allow him to fly over the opposition and snatch up a rebound that seemed already secured by the other team. Wilt’s greatest attribute was that his physical make-up and his ability to maneuver that body were both out of this world, ahead of his time and always under his control.
I was doing some research today in the university archives for a Civil War paper, and even though I was off by about 100 years (think 1860, not 1960), I found this article detailing a Pistons/Warriors game.
For me, to be able to see a legit box score from a Wilt Chamberlain game was magical. I never really realized how dominant he was until I saw his stats in a newspaper article, much like the ones I pored over as a kid.
Chamberlain put up a crazy stat line, almost comical. We’re talking 44 points, 39 rebounds, and by the newspaper’s estimate, “blocked at least a dozen shots.” (real journalists guestimate the stats)
But the funny part was under the “F” column in the box score, a gigantic 0-10 that led a teammate to remark, "he gets up to the foul line and figures the ball don’t go in anyway."
The 1961-62 season is one of the wildest years in NBA history. Six players averaged 30 points or better per game. Five players averaged better than 15 rebounds per game. To put that in contrast, during the 2009-10 NBA season, only one person (Kevin Durant) averaged better than 30 points and no one grabbed more than 13 rebounds per game.
1961 was such a bizarro year that Elgin Baylor averaged 38 points, 18 rebounds, and 4 assists and came in 4th in MVP voting. If he pulled of that feat today, the media might crown him the greatest player, ever. Baylor’s teammate, Jerry West, dropped 30 ppg himself. Then there is Oscar’s triple doubles.
With all of these monster stat lines it’s hard to believe that anyone really stood out, but one if them did. Wilt averaged a mind blowing 50.4 points, 25.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game including the 100 point game. They didn’t keep track of blocks or steals back then but one can only guess that the most dominant man on the hardwood racked up his fair share of defensive stats also. The amazing thing about this is that rebounding total was Wilt’s third best rebounding season.
It’s hard to fathom, but Chamberlain finished 2nd in MVP voting that year to his arch rival, Bill Russell.
A lot of people wonder if Wilt could be as dominant playing in today’s NBA. I’m not really sure if I can answer that question. I do know that he moved really well for a 7-footer, he played in an era where the best shoe available was a Chuck Taylor and they played with solid mount rims.
Sports Illustrated posted this gallery of Athletes in their College Dorm. Was Jordan sponsored by CBS Sports? Or just a huge fan? How much do you love Adam Morrison with that Bird Determination poster? After seeing the Michael Jackson shrine, do the Lopez brothers creep you out even more?
Great article about Wilt Chamberlain’s house-warming party in 1972. An excerpt:
"The party began at 4 p.m., and the first wave of guests included members of the Lakers organization and other professional people. The early-morning revelers were the swinging singles."
“‘These are the people I particularly socialize with,’ says the 35-year-old bachelor, referring to the late crowd. ‘It’s also a way for male friends of mine to meet female friends and also a way for me to meet the new young ladies. The party in the afternoon was for people I already know and most of whom are married.’”
Wilt called his house Ursa Major: “At the touch of one of the many electronic devices in the room, a triangular mirror above the bed rolls back enabling the Big Dipper to see the Big Dipper on a clear night.”
The guest room featured velvet sofas surrounding a waterbed lined with rabbit fur.
Wilt’s own bedspread was made of “wolf-nose” fur pelts from Alaska.