in my view. He was like Babe Ruth in his day. He was just an awesome force. Wilt was 7-1 and weighed over 300 pounds. He scored 100 points in an NBA game. He averaged over 50 points per game in the 1961 season and then another year averaged 40 points per game in the NBA. He averaged over 30 points and 20 rebounds per game 7 times. No other NBA player has ever done it one time! In his NBA rookie season he averaged 37.6 PPG and 27 rebounds.
He was a great athlete. He attended Kansas where he ran the 100 yard dash in 10.9 seconds, shot putted 56 feet, triple jumped more than 50 feet, ran the 400 and 800 yard dash, and won the high jump at the Big Eight track and field championships 3 times.
He was considered the strongest man in the NBA with other players marveling at his athletic ability and strength. He was a man among boys. Think of a guy like Shaquille O’Neal with great skill. He had the finger roll, the fade away jumper and the hook. He was double and tripled teamed most of the time.
He won two NBA titles, one with the Philadelphia Warriors and one with the Lakers. In his prime, he was much more dominant than Michael Jordan. Jordan’s teams won 6 titles, so in that respect, Jordan was the best. Wilt would be unstoppable in today’s NBA. Spread the floor…give him the ball within 10 feet of the basket with one guy trying to guard him. No way.
Wilt is really a forgotten player because it was 60 years ago when he dominated the NBA. I would ask you, if you are interested, to google “Wilt Chamberlain”. You won’t believe what you will read.
I agree with that in general but Bill Russell owned Chamberlain.
NBA titles: Russell 11. Chamberlain 2 (one of those after Russell retired). Wilt would outscore him, Russell would win.
You must be joking. Bill could not carry Wilt’s jockstrap. The Celtics had a all-star at very position, and Wilt usually played on a much weaker team. Bill Russell was a great player, but primarily a defensive ace. Wilt was not only the most dominant offensive player in the NBA, but one of the most dominant defensive players of all-time.
So, are you guys saying Bill Russell is better than Michael Jordan because his team won more titles?
I remember Chamberlain admitting Russell really hampered Wilt’s game.
When the GOAT topic comes up you generally get three names: MJ, Russell and Kareem. Wilt is in the next tier with Magic and Bird and Kobe and Lebron and maybe Duncan (who has five rings too). Rings ain’t everything but they’re a good tiebreaker. LeBron is probably on the edge of that top tier.
Wilt was a stat king, but never much on winning titles. I’d say Bill Russell was the better player. He just didn’t pile up the stats with his teams because there were so many other good players. Russell concentrated on defense. His ability to block shots and direct the ball to teammates was uncanny.
Didn’t Chamberlain face Russell with Elgin Baylor and Jerry West?
Chamberlain was great, no doubt but in my opinion, Russell was a master of the game.
Kareem is my all time GOAT. Unstoppable.
Loved Bill Russell. Those Celtic teams were awesome.
Bill Russell. All you had to do was watch the two of them matched up. Wilt could do very little against him. Bill did what it took to win championships. Stats was not his thing. His moto was to pick them up when they got off the bus and stay on them until they got back on the bus to go home and that is what he did.
On offense, the ball would normally come into bill and then he would get it to whoever should get it in position to score. He was the best at that.
Of course, that was when they played basketball in the NBA and not the crap or whatever you call it that passes for the NBA today.
You guys are Celtic fans, of course. Wilt dominated everybody he played against in his prime. Bill Russell was a solid offensive player and a great defensive player, but his all-around game was no where near Chamberlain’s.
Russell was fortunate to have Red Auerbach as his coach and play on teams loaded with great players. Had Russell played on another team, he would probably not get near the attention he does today. Russell played on one of the great dynasty teams of all time.
I am not surprised at everyone’s take on Wilt. He was never really liked and appreciated when he played and just destroyed everybody. People then and even today resent the fact he was so big and strong. I guess they felt he had an advantage which was unfair. I was a Chamberlain fan then and now, and I never understood why he never got the respect and admiration I felt he should have.
Wilt was an incredible talent but he didn’t make his teammates better. I was rooting for Wilt and against the Celtics at the time, but he just couldn’t get over the hump against Russell except in '67.
I agree with you jhawg. Wilt does not get the respect he deserves.
And the reason Wilt did not do well against Russell is simply Wilt was out for Wilt, not his team.
The following comes from an article by Steve Smith entitiled “Greatness Revisited: Why Wilt Chamberlain was the Greatest NBA Player Ever.”
"According to Philadelphia 76er stat man Harvey Pollack, Chamberlain and Russell played head -to-head 142 times. In those matchups, Wilt averaged 28.7 ppg and 28.7 rebounds per game. Russell, on the other hand, averaged 23.7 ppg and 14.5 rebounds per game.
What’s of note is that Chamberlain’s career rebounding average was 22.9 rebounds per game, while Russell’s was 22.5 rebounds per game. Appears Wilt destroyed Bill on the boards any time he faced him.
Also of note is the fact Wilt scored 62 points in a game against Russell on January 14, 1962 in Boston, and scored more than 50 points against him in 6 other games. The most points Russell ever scored against Wilt? 37. Also, Russell only scored more than 30 against Wilt two other times.
Of further note is the fact Wilt set an NBA record grabbing 55 rebounds against Russell in a game on November 24, 1960 and grabbed more than 40 rebounds against Bill in six other games.
His dominance of Russell was simply a fact and was profound. If it wasn’t for the fact Russell had Hall of Famers surrounding him his entire career, Wilt’s teams would have certainly won at least two or three of those titles Bill and the Celts have."
I also found this while reading about Wilt. He could bench press over 500 pounds and had a vertical leap of 48" which is higher than Michael Jordan could jump. He could outrun Al Attles from end to end of the court who was one of the fastest men in the NBA and a team mate.
You can’t make this stuff up. It is just incredible.
I’ve been a big fan of the Dipper all my life. To my way of thinking he was the greatest of all time, though I know legitimate arguments can be made for others. Wilt was a phenomenal athlete that recorded a lot of just crazy stats.
Wilt played a total of 1045 games over fourteen seasons.
- He scored fifty points or more 118 times. Jordan is second with 31 fifty-point games
- He scored forty points or more 271 times.
- He averaged playing 45.8 minutes per game. In the 1961-62 season he averaged 48.5 minutes. Most of you know that an NBA game before OTs is only 48 minutes.
- He scored thirty points and collected thirty rebounds 128 times. Russell did it 3 times. Three other guys did it twice and eight players did it once.
- In the third game of his rookie season, Wilt scored 41 points and grabbed 40 rebounds.
After his first seven seasons, he intentionally stopped scoring at a frenetic pace and concentrated on sharing the ball more. His PPG dropped into the 20’s and in his final three years, below 20.
Blocks and steals were not recorded, but there were games early in his career when his team credited him with more than twenty blocks. Even playing all those minutes, he never fouled out of a game.
Wilt owns or shares 72 NBA records. Perhaps the most curious: 28 made free throws in a game (he attempted 32 – the game in which he scored 100).
The game is different. He only won two titles. I don’t care; to me, Wilt was the greatest.
Thanks, Clarence. I just wanted a few of our posters to know what a great player and a very much underappreciated player he was. He played a while ago…not many remember his dominance. As Jerry West, his former team mate told him, "Nobody loves Goliath’.
Wilt and Bill were great but for the best of the old time players one would certainly have to consider Oscar Robertson and Dr.J. Dr J. was one of the best I ever saw and most did not see him play in his prime. He was in the old ABA. When he was a kid the Dr. had a running mate by the name of Herman the Helicopter Jones…Look him up sometimes…Think drugs got him.
I agree with jhawg ,Wilt was the best of the best.The Celtics were loaded with All Stars 8 or 9 deep and had the best Coach at the time.Russell was more of a defensive player and a rebounder which surprised me that Wilt dominated him so badly on the boards when they went face to face. I lost a bet one time when a friend bet me Wilt had a 48" vertical.David Thompson only had a 46" and many considered him the highest jumper in basketball…And Wilt was 7`1".His track exploits and the best Volleyball player in the world add to the legend that was Wilt!!