Wilton Norman "Wilt" Chamberlain (August 21, 1936 – October 12, 1999) was an American basketball player. He played for the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA; he played for the University of Kansas and also for the Harlem Globetrotters before playing in the NBA. The 7 foot 1 inch Chamberlain weighed 250 pounds as a rookie before bulking up to 275 and eventually to over 300 pounds with the Lakers. He played the center position and is widely considered one of the greatest and most dominant players in NBA history.
Chamberlain holds numerous NBA all-time records in scoring, rebounding and durability categories. He is the only player to score 100 points in a single NBA game or average more than 40 and 50 points in a season. He also won seven scoring, nine field goal percentage, and eleven rebounding titles, and led the league in assists once. Chamberlain is the only player in NBA history to average at least 30 points and 20 rebounds per game in a season, a feat he accomplished nine times. He is also the only player to average at least 30 points and 20 rebounds per game over the entire course of his NBA career.
Although he suffered a long string of professional losses, Chamberlain had a successful career, winning two NBA championships, earning four regular-season Most Valuable Player awards, the Rookie of the Year award, one NBA Finals MVP award, and being selected to 13 All-Star Games and ten All-NBA First and Second teams. Chamberlain was subsequently enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978, elected into the NBA's 35th Anniversary Team of 1980, and chosen as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History of 1996.
Chamberlain was known by various nicknames during his basketball playing career. He hated the ones that called attention to his height such as "Goliath" and "Wilt the Stilt", which was coined during his high school days by a Philadelphia sportswriter. He preferred "The Big Dipper", which was inspired by his friends who saw him dip his head as he walked through doorways.
After his basketball career ended, Chamberlain played volleyball in the short-lived International Volleyball Association, was president of this organization, and is enshrined in the IVA Hall of Fame for his contributions. Chamberlain was also a successful businessman, authored several books, and appeared in the movie Conan the Destroyer. He was a lifelong bachelor, and became notorious for his claim to have had sex with over 20,000 women.
By Dean Hanley
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