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Friday night video: Wilt Chamberlain was unlike any other

Aug 24, 2012, 10:00 PM EDT

Lots of talk the past couple weeks about Dwight Howard, his impact as a center on both ends of the floor and what he means to the Lakers. There is no doubt he is the best center in the game today.

But no center could physically dominate his era like Wilt Chamberlain. And I mean on the court, too. He was bigger, stronger, more athletic than everyone he went up against to the point it was almost unfair. For his career he averaged 30.1 points and 22.9 rebounds a game. AVERAGED. He averaged a career PER of 26.1 (last season only four players in the NBA had better). He’s a four-time MVP, 13 time All-Star, an NBA champion and a Hall of Famer.

So to start off your weekend, here are some highlights of one of the greatest centers ever to play the game. A true legend.

  1. mickboogy - Aug 24, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    Ask Bill Russell if he cares, oh wait he can’t hear anything through his 11 rings!

    • camnellum12 - Aug 24, 2012 at 11:07 PM

      Too bad Wilt grabbed 55 rebounds over him, and dropped 63 on him as well. I hate how fans credit Russell for topping Wilt, when Red Auerbach did.

      • cosanostra71 - Aug 25, 2012 at 12:17 AM

        they were both great players, two of the best ever. they were different players.

      • zblott - Aug 25, 2012 at 2:50 AM

        There’s a reason Wilt was traded twice in his prime (huge red flag) and was known as a loser during his day, and Russell was who the Celtics built a non-stop winning machine around. A machine that was bad before he showed up, bad after he left, and bad whenever he missed games in the middle.

        Wilt was about his own stats and selling out his teammates and coaches (9 coaches in 13 seasons = huge red flag). This is why he kept his own numbers up while it clearly interfered with the team and its ability to win. Russell maximized his teammates’ and the club’s cohesion on both ends of the floor.

        Wilt made 1 better.
        Russell made 5 better.
        For some insight into how:

        http://www.behindthebasket.com/btb/2011/9/15/its-all-about-the-ws-bill-russell.html

      • somekat - Aug 25, 2012 at 8:56 AM

        @zblott

        You do realize, that the sixers went from a Championship team, to THE WORST TEAM IN NBA HISTORY when they traded Wilt, correct? But you are right, he didn’t make those guys any better. Do not speak on what you have no idea

      • zblott - Aug 25, 2012 at 1:01 PM

        @somekat
        You do realize you completely made up the best-to-worst scenario, right (won title in 67, Wilt traded in 68, still very good in 69, worst ever in 73 when literally the entire top-9 of roster was different)? You do realize the Sixers couldn’t wait to trade him right? You do realize the Lakers could have had him for virtually nothing a couple years earlier and the LA players voted it down?

        This is basic NBA history, so you either know nothing about that era at all or you’re intentionally mischaracterizing it?

    • philtration - Aug 25, 2012 at 9:34 PM

      Russell was a great player but would the Celtics have looked like with Wilt at Center?
      Russell was surrounded by great players.

      • zblott - Aug 25, 2012 at 11:25 PM

        1) Red Auerbach said he would never coach Wilt since he was such a team cancer, so like every other team he was on, he would have been traded so they could build a real club.
        2) Wilt played beside Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Billy Cunningham, Hal Greer, Paul Arizin, Nate Thurmond, Gail Goodrich and Chet Walker. You can’t make a list that good for Russell without some serious stretches (ever seen the stats of guys like K.C. Jones?).

    • connaniii - Aug 26, 2012 at 4:49 PM

      If you hadn´t noticed Chamberlain destroyed Russel at least ten times on the flick…unstoppable!

  2. cosanostra71 - Aug 24, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    it’s crazy how high he could jump

    • 618t - Aug 27, 2012 at 9:49 AM

      Cosanostra -Wilt was a great track and field athlete. He won the high jump at the 1957 Drake relays. At over 7 feet he ran a 10.9 100. Wilt is the greatest NBA player ever. End of story. Read Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s open letter to Scottie Pippen to understand why. Kareem is the nexus to this argument, one of the few players who played in both the old NBA right up to the time MJ entered the league. Statistically its not an argument he is the greatest. To a poster here who calls him a cancer you do know he led the NBA one year in assists. As someone here said when they change the rules of the game to stop you because you are so dominate that is a telling sign of greatness.

  3. paulhargis53 - Aug 24, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    The individual rings argument is stupid.
    It’s a TEAM game. Russell, had a much better surrounding cast for many of those years.
    I will say those 2 are the best centers ever though.

    • tominma - Aug 25, 2012 at 5:53 PM

      Teh Celtics were always changing, always evolving. Russell was the only constant. In his last year, the Celts finishd 4th in their division and STILL won the title. What a waste of all those baloons in LA LOL!

      In face to face battles, Wilt almost always won the individual battles, but the Celtics almost always won the games.
      So Wilt, a truly GREAT player was the most dominant force of his era but he didnt win much. Russel won 2 NCAA rings, an Olympic gold medal and 11 NBA rings. I’ll take Russell.

      And if you read his biography, you just might find out he was a better man that he was a basketball player!! Hard to believe but true.

  4. lakerluver - Aug 25, 2012 at 1:44 AM

    Wow, it must be a full moon, paulhargis53, finally posted a comment that actually makes some sense. Well, at least most of it does. I’m not so sure about Wilt and Russell being the two greatest centers. I’d take Wilt and Kareem. Kareem has even said that Wilt is the greatest player ever. And he just might be right. The skeptics always point to the era Wilt played in. Or the fact that he didn’t win 11 titles like Russell. To that I say 50 pts and 25 rebounds can’t be disputed!! Neither can his career averages. As for Russell, he played with a team full of great players, therefore, he should’ve won multiple titles. I’d be willing to bet that Boston was the favorite in the vast majority of those championships. My point is, Russell always played on the better team. He was a great player but I believe Wilt would’ve won just as many titles had they switched places and Wilt played on the Celtics.

    • zblott - Aug 25, 2012 at 1:43 PM

      As far as the indisputable 50 ppg and 25 rpg season Wilt had (’61-62), who won the MVP Award that year?

      As for all of Russell’s surrounding talent, keep in mind they weren’t close to being a contender before he showed up, were horrible after he left, and were way under-.500 when he missed games in the middle. They’re all HOFers because they won so many titles, which they did because of Russell.

      QUESTION FOR YOU: Name Russell’s 5-7 best teammates during his career and then try to convince me they’re a better group than Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Billy Cunningham, Hal Greer, Paul Arizin, Nate Thurmond, and Chet Walker — all elite guys Wilt played with. Remember that the only reason Wilt didn’t play with any one of these guys longer was because all of his teams couldn’t wait to trade him since he was such a team cancer.

      • camnellum12 - Aug 25, 2012 at 2:33 PM

        “Wilt is playing better than I used to — passing off, coming out to set up screens, picking up guys outside, and sacrificing himself for team play.” – Bill Russell

        To say Wilt Chamberlain was a team cancer is a stretch, I’m sure he had an ego, but every player in the All-Time Top 10 had one. And the Boston Celtics have the most HOF’s in the Hall, a chunk of them came from the Russell era. You’re right, Russell was the glue to the success, just like Tim Duncan is with the Spurs, but he couldn’t hold Wilt, nobody could. The reason why the Celtics teams always topped the 76ers, is because Auerbach used to let Wilt go on a field day, but force his teammates to go cold all game. And once it was time for the 4th quarter, and his teammates were done. Auerbach was a genius, and Russell being the defensive anchor/glass eater made life easy for Boston.

        “If [the referee] is calling [the game] loose then everyone gets away with more. So, you have to handle your own man accordingly, unless it’s Wilt Chamberlain. Him, you just don’t handle. He’s too strong. The best you can do is make him work hard.” – Bill Russell

      • mickeylolich1968 - Aug 25, 2012 at 4:00 PM

        You make it sound as if Wilt would fit in very well in today’s NBA.

  5. eventhorizon04 - Aug 25, 2012 at 2:00 AM

    Rule of Thumb: If a guy in a video clip blocks a shot by Kareem-Abdul Jabbar (1:55 in the video), that guy is probably in the Hall of Fame.

    • eventhorizon04 - Aug 25, 2012 at 2:02 AM

      Ugh, I mean 2:00 in the video.

      • otistaylor89 - Aug 25, 2012 at 10:45 AM

        Well, actually it was clearly a goaltend, but still…..

    • zblott - Aug 25, 2012 at 1:48 PM

      Like Bill Willoughby?

      • eventhorizon04 - Aug 26, 2012 at 8:45 AM

        Yep.

        When I say, “General Rule of Thumb,” and you provide just one counter-example, you have completely proven me wrong. Good job.

      • zblott - Aug 26, 2012 at 1:08 PM

        @even
        1) You never said “General Rule of Thumb,” so don’t make things up we can verify by looking up 6 inches.
        2) There were hardly any videos from Kareem’s hay day, so of course there won’t be a lot of counter-examples.
        3) Even with so few videos in existence from that era, the fact we have one of a complete nobody who wasn’t a good shot blocker doing it tells me it probably wasn’t the world’s rarest event.
        4) So back to your original point: you say that if a guy blocks Kareem in a video then he’s probably in the HOF – it turns out you were right in exactly one instance. Sounds like a terrible rule of thumb to develop for a single situation.

  6. blaze1605 - Aug 25, 2012 at 6:15 AM

    In my opinion Wilt was definitely the greatest ever. The fact he has only two rings doesn’t matter because it is a team game. How may rings did Jordan win without a great team around him? Russell won more rings yes, but Russell had a far better team playing around him. Wilt was athletically unbelievable and would punish these current day centres if matched up against them.

  7. somekat - Aug 25, 2012 at 8:33 AM

    The true GOAT. They changed rules to HELP Jordan/Magic etc etc. They changed rules to STOP Wilt, because it literally couldn’t be done. No such things as goaltending and 3 seconds in the lane before Wilt. But back then, instead of saying “Wow, this guy is great. Let’s make sure the game is officiated to make him look as good as possible”, they said “wow, this guy is great, we have to change the rules so the rest of the league has a chance to compete”.

    NOBODY has dominated like Wilt, EVER

  8. johninnerk - Aug 25, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    You’re mistaken; the 3 second lane and goaltending were both in place long before the Big Dipper played. If you want to cite a rule designed to stop an individual player, remember the no-dunk rule instituted for Lew Alcindor (Kareem) at the college level during his playing days.

  9. yourfutureanalyst1 - Aug 25, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    Not to take anything away from one of the greatest of all time, but anyone can dominate in league that’s not that competitive and when you’re light years ahead of peers in talent. Wilt was in fact a true individual talent but when it came down to the team winning he was exposed, kinda the same way Lebron was for his tenure in Cleveland. As far as deeming him the G.O.A.T. I SERIOUSLY don’t think that Wilt would have dominated like he did against the likes of Kareem, Shaq, and Hakeem Olajuwon.

  10. phillyphann83 - Aug 25, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    @zblott…I forgot that Bill Russell scored 100 points, I’m so bad at NBA history.

  11. phillyphann83 - Aug 25, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    btw zblott, where your proof Wilt sold out his teammates?? story? link? ohhhhh that’s right, youre just shootin off at the mouth making things up to make you sound right.

  12. 700levelvet - Aug 25, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    Wilt was the greatest Nba player of all time. End of debate

  13. mojosmagic - Aug 25, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    People today who never saw him play have no idea how great Wilt was. This is a man who averaged 50 points and 25 rebound per game one season! The three second rule and lines in the paint were put in by opposing general managers to try to slow him down.

    • zblott - Aug 25, 2012 at 4:43 PM

      50 ppg + 25 rpg, but BILL RUSSELL STILL WON THE MVP AWARD THAT SEASON.

      It’s almost as if people actually watching the games at the time recognized that Wilt was out for his own stats at the expense of the team and wilted in the clutch, while Russell made everything work better at both ends of the floor and stepped it up when the going got tough.

    • ron05342 - Aug 25, 2012 at 5:12 PM

      Agreed, mojosmagic. As I wrote below, I did see him play in his prime. You have to see it to believe. Younger people here who are just quoting stats and restating what others have said without seeing him play just can’t properly opine without seeing what Wilt and Russell were like in their day.

  14. ron05342 - Aug 25, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    I saw Wilt play in his prime, both on the court and in person. He was the best ever, the most dominant ever.

    And its not even close.

  15. nokoolaidcowboy - Aug 27, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    Hmmm…no one here mentioning how he scored 100 pts. in a game?

    http://www.nba.com/history/wilt100_moments.html

    Whoa, I shouldn’t be posting this. All we need in NY is for Carmelo to get wind of this!

  16. 618t - Aug 27, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    “physically dominate in his era” In the words of Coach Ditka “Just Stop it Stop it” As my nephew says I’m a keep it 100. If the Big Dipper were alive today he would be the most dominant big man and player in the NBA. After viewing that film and seeing him play on TV as a kid what NBA center has a weapon like that finger role. None. KAJ was the last to shot a hook shot Wilt had it in his arsenal as well. The hook shot is a nearly unstoppable move that has been lost on this era of players. LBJ shot it a couple of times in the ECF over R. Hibbert with great success. It was shocking for me to see that in today’s game. Look how far out he shot it and swished the nets! I mean come on what true 5 today grabs a rebound and leads the break (not dribbling awkwardly) and then finishes the same break with a dunk. Wilt did this many times not just once a season. The reason he could move so fluidly was because The Big Dipper was a great track and field athlete and volleyball player who won the high jump at the Drake relays, won 3 Big Eight high jump championships threw the shot put up to 56 feet and ran a 10.9 100 at over 7 ft tall! What NBA player today does that!
    Wilt was clearly more fundamentally sound than today’s players. People say he was the tallest and there was no competition his size yet what player do you know that all defensive players on the opposing team are trying to stop at the same time. They changed the rules of the game to stop him! If he were here today there wouldn’t be enough money to pay him on a NBA roster. At the end of his career he single- handedly propped up modern volleyball and was MVP in a defunct international league.

    Oh and one more thing he was one of the first to have “Swag” as the young dudes say. He could dress and drove fast cars LLW- Ladies Loved Wilt!!!

  17. progress2011 - Aug 28, 2012 at 2:06 AM

    Can we PLEASE start the season early !

    We are TRULY desperate for some BBall, that the blog gawds can pull out an ancient story about Wilt…and ya’ll go friggin crazy !!!

    I too want to see some bball, I’m starving for something to watch over here ! Wifee got me watching friggin soaps with her, cause no sports are on.

    But some of ya’ll gotta get a grip….4real !!!

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