Wilton Norman “Wilt” Chamberlain (1936-1999) is the only player in NBA history to score more than 100 points in a single game or average 40 and 50 points a game for an entire season. At 6’11” as a high school freshman, Wilt earned the nicknames that stuck with him throughout his career such as Wilt the Stilt, Goliath and the Big Dipper, because he had to dip his head when walking through doorways. He led his high school team to two city titles and a 56-3 record in his ion three seasons becoming one of the most sought after college freshmen drawing interest from over 200 colleges and universities before choosing the University of Kansas. Chamberlain left Kansas after two seasons disheartened from losing a heart-breaking NCAA Championship game in 1956 and the new tactics of triple-teaming him and stalling by holding the ball for minutes at a time to preserve leads. He joined the Harlem Globetrotters for the 1958-59 season because the NBA did not accept players who had not completed college.
Wilt was a territorial pick out of the University of Kansas and the Harlem Globetrotters in 1959 by the Philadelphia Warriors. Chamberlain was immediately the most dominant player in the NBA, leading in numerous categories including total rebounds, field goals and points. He was named the 1960 NBA Rookie of the Year and the league’s Most Valuable Player and began a string of six consecutive seasons leading the league in points. In the 1961-62 season Chamberlain averaged an unheard-of 50.4 points per game and followed that season averaging 44.8 points per game. Wilt was a 7-time All-NBA First Team player, two-time NBA All-Defensive First Team player, 13-time All-Star selection and was named the 1960 NBA All-Star Game MVP after scoring 23 points and pulling down 25 rebounds. He led the league seven times in points, 11 times in total rebounds, seven times in field goals and attempts, eight times in minutes played, five times in games played and one time in assists. During his 14-year career with the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors (1959-1965), the Philadelphia 76ers (1965-1968) and the Los Angeles Lakers (1968-1973), Wilt was without a doubt the most dominant player in any league and possibly the history of basketball. He won his first NBA Championship with the 76ers teaming with fellow Hall of Famers Billy Cunningham and Hal Greer to defeat his former team, the San Francisco Warriors. He won three NBA Most Valuable Player Award as a 76er (1966-1968) before heading to the Los Angeles Lakers in 1968. Wilt won another NBA Championship with the Lakers in 1972 and was named NBA Finals MVP for his performance.
Though Chamberlain remained in top physical condition as he did during throughout his playing days, he retired after the 1972-73 season holding many of the NBA all-time records, some of which remain unbroken. He played occasionally for the International Volleyball Association for which he was the president off the organization. Wilt Chamberlain was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978. In 1984, Wilt was cast in the major motion picture Conan the Destroyer. In 1996, Wilt was named to the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History list. Despite his superior fitness, Chamberlain was diagnosed with heart problems and in 1999 he died of congestive heart failure.