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Wilt Chamberlain's resume

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Right now its March Madness, and we all know Wilt Chamberlain as one of if not the greatest NBA player ever. But how many people know "Dippy" was a part of perhaps the greatest college basketball game ever? A watershed moment in North Carolina Tarheel history as it was the school's first national championship. One that brought a huge celebration in Chapel Hill when the team returned from Kansas City. And it also helped the ACC to secure a TV deal that would propel it to regional prominence. This is how Wiltie remembers it...

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from WILT: Just like any other 7-foot black millionaire who lives next door

"So it was No. 1 North Carolina, 31-0, against No. 2 Kansas, 24-2, for the 1957 NCAA championship. McGuire, a shrewd strategist and psychologist, had his smallest player, 5 foot 11 Tommy Kearns, jump center against me for the opening tipoff. Tommy and I have snice become such good friends that we always try to have dinner together at least once anytime I'm in New York, but we didn't know each other at all then, and a lot of people said McGuire made the surprise move to confuse me and throw me and my teammates off stride, wondering what the hell he was up to. But that was only part of it. Coach McGuire knew he didn't have anyone who could outjump me, so why waste a tall guy in the jump? Why not stick a little guy in there, and have all your tall guys outside the center circle where they could grab the tip when I hit it? We got the tip, but North Carolina immediately put their 6-9 center Joe Quigg in front of me and damn near everyone else on their team behind me and alongside me. Coach McGuire, who later coached me on the Warriors, said he told his team, "We're playing Wilt, not Kansas; just stop him and don't worry about those other guys on his team; they're not all that good."

I didn't get many shots off against that kind of defense, and I did'nt hit my field goal until above five minutes into the game. By that time, North Carolina was ahead, 9-2. They hit their first nine shots, and jumped ahead 19-7 before we knew what hit us. It seemed like everything they threw up there went in. They didn't miss a shot for the first ten minutes of the game!

My teammates, meanwhile, coudn't put a pea in the ocean. With North Caroilna surrounding me, they were all wide open, but they just couldn't buy a basket. At halftime, North Carolina was hitting 64.5 percent from the field, and we were hitting 27.3 percent.

North Carolina stalled in the second half, but we came back and actually went ahead, 40-37, with about ten minutes left in the game. Then we stalled. With 1:43 left, we were ahead 46-43-and North Carolina's big star, Lennie Rosenbluth, commited his fifth foul. It looked like we had the championship in the bag. This was in Kansas City, and I remember looking up in the stands at some friends and thinking how groovy it was going to be to celebrate with them later. I mean, one of our best free-throwers, Gene Elstun, was at the line, and if he made it, we'd be ahead by four points; even if they scored again, we'd get the ball back with a two-point lead and less than a minute to go. I was sure we could stall the game out.

Well, Elstun misses the free throw, and the ball bounces damn near all the way to midcourt where they have a guy standing. They get a layup, and a few seconds later one of our other guys blows an in-bounds play and they get a free throw, and the game goes into overtime.

The first overtime is scoreless. We each get a basket in the second overtime. Now it's 48-all, and we're going into triple overtime.

We go ahead, 53-52, with just a few seconds left when their center hist a jump shot from the corner to put them ahead, 54-53. We call time, and Coach Harp gives us the obvious play: "Pass it in high to Wilt right under the basket, and let him dunk it."

Good idea-except that the guy who takes the ball out, Ron Loneski, hands while I'm standing there under the basket, completely helpless, and we lose the national championship.

I've always been more bitter about that loss than almost any other single game in my whole college and professional career. I guess it's because that's the game that started the whole "Wilt's a loser" thing that's been thrown at me for more than (56) years now.

For most of those years, people have been writing that Kansas was the preseason favorite to win everything my sophomore year-and my junior year, as well-and taht we, I, blew it both times. That just isn't true. But people only remember what Phog Allen said when I enrolled at Kansas. He told everyone:

'Wilt Chamberlain's the greatest basketball player I ever saw. With him, we'll never lose a game; we could win the national championship with Wilt, two sorority girls and two Phi Beta Kappas.'

That was ridiculous, of course, but it gave the public an image of me that has endured to this day-the image of Wilt Chamberlain as Superman, a guy who should never lose. So when my team does lose, it must be my fault right? I'm not performing up to expectations. Or I'm choking. Or I'm blowing free throws. Or I'm letting Bill Russell psyche me out. Or I'm being selfish. You certainly can't blame my teammates. After all, Phog Allen said I didn't really need teammates.

Anyway, the myth is that Kansas was supposed to win the national championship that year, and I lost it for us. Never mind that I got 23 points against North Carolina-high for that game. Never mind that I was named most valuable player in the tournament. Never mind that I had three or four men guarding me all night. Never mind that the rest of the team couldn't hit when they were left wide open. Never mind that Ron Loneski threw that pass away in the third overtime. Never mind that North Carolina-No.1, undefeated, with a great coach and great players-was actually favored going into the championship game. The people who were there know what happened, but by the time I'd been a pro a few years, and we'd lost to Boston a few times, everyone was pointing back to that North Carolina game as proof that I was a loser.

Bullshit!"

Here are more pics of Big Wiltie's experience as a Kansas Jayhawk in 1950's America.

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Definitely the greatest individual player just on shear numbers. We'll never see numbers like that again. Not only because the fact that Wilt was such a supreme talent, but also because it isn't possible to put up numbers like that in today's NBA. Even if Wilt was in his prime right now he wouldn't get close to some of those numbers that he achieved. Granted, he'd easily be the best C in the NBA and it wouldn't be close, but I definitely couldn't see him putting up 50 ppg and 30 rpg or something ridiculous like that. I could maybe see something like 30/18. Not taking anything against him though, because even with numbers like 30/18 he's still in discussion for greatest individual talent (which is crazy if you think about it -- even him getting half his numbers and he's still in the discussion for GOAT individual player).

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the D is certainly stronger today than it was in his days!

didn't he claim to have banged over 10,000 women?!!! that's a stat that won't be beat either!

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Wilt was great, but I'll still take...

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Wilt was great, but I'll still take...

$(KGrHqZ,!owF!F0PPH!IBQPUCYJqUg~~60_35.JPG

I completely agree with you there. Even though Wilt put up better stats (much better offensively) it doesn't really put him ahead of Russell, but ultimately winning is the only thing that matters.

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Wilt lifetime averaged 28 & 28 against Russell. Keep in mind he set the record for most rebounds in a game (55) and in a playoff game (41) against him. Notice how all these TEAM records like most wins in NBA history ('67 76ers who went 68-13, and '72 Lakers who went 69-13) and win streaks ('72 Lakers 33 wins) were set by teams that Wilt anchored and NOT the Celtics and their dynasty?

Measuring individual greatness by rings is foolish. Is Mario Chalmers a better PG than Chris Paul? Winning is everything right? Russell played with more HOFers than anybody in history and was coached by arguably the greatest coach & GM in NBA history. He was not asked to do anything what Wilt was. Wilt had to do Russell's job AND SCORE. Russell had HOFer's like Cousy (who was the bigger established star), Clyd Lovellette, Tom Heinsohn, Sharman, Sam Jones, Havlicek, etc. All guys who could score and made CLUTCH plays along with Russ. Thats why rings are a TEAM accomplishment. Put Wilt on Russell's teams he gets even more rings, put Russ on Wilt's teams and ask him to do his job can he get 100? Can he get 50 a game? Can he carry teams to all time records that stand 40 years?

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Wilt lifetime averaged 28 & 28 against Russell. Keep in mind he set the record for most rebounds in a game (55) and in a playoff game (41) against him. Notice how all these TEAM records like most wins in NBA history ('67 76ers who went 68-13, and '72 Lakers who went 69-13) and win streaks ('72 Lakers 33 wins) were set by teams that Wilt anchored and NOT the Celtics and their dynasty?

Measuring individual greatness by rings is foolish. Is Mario Chalmers a better PG than Chris Paul? Winning is everything right? Russell played with more HOFers than anybody in history and was coached by arguably the greatest coach & GM in NBA history. He was not asked to do anything what Wilt was. Wilt had to do Russell's job AND SCORE. Russell had HOFer's like Cousy (who was the bigger established star), Sam Jones, Tom Heinsohn, Sharman, Sam Jones, Havlicek, etc. All guys who could score and made CLUTCH plays along with Russ. Thats why rings are a TEAM accomplishment. Put Wilt on Russell's teams he gets even more rings, put Russ on Wilt's teams and ask him to do his job can he get 100? Can he get 50 a game? Can he carry teams to all time records that stand 40 years?

Only because he was white if we're being honest about that.

Wilt also played with a few HOF guys as well (West, Baylor off the top of my head) for those team records.

Russell, as you also pointed out, didn't have to score the way Wilt did, etc. IMO, can't fault Russell for that though. He played his role at an MVP level and did what he was supposed to, anchoring arguably the greatest dynasty in sports history. You're right, you can't compare the 2 statistically. As far as intangibles, never losing a game 7 to Wilt, the competitiveness...I'm taking Russell and not thinking twice. Hell, Wilt would quit playing in games if he only had 1 foul left to give (part of the reason for his never fouling out streak which he was obsessed with). Give me the guy obsessed with winning over the guy obsessed with stats. Just a matter of preference though, as both were dominant and have their own pros and cons when compared to each other.

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the D is certainly stronger today than it was in his days!

didn't he claim to have banged over 10,000 women?!!! that's a stat that won't be beat either!

20,000 actually.

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Wilt lifetime averaged 28 & 28 against Russell. Keep in mind he set the record for most rebounds in a game (55) and in a playoff game (41) against him. Notice how all these TEAM records like most wins in NBA history ('67 76ers who went 68-13, and '72 Lakers who went 69-13) and win streaks ('72 Lakers 33 wins) were set by teams that Wilt anchored and NOT the Celtics and their dynasty?

Measuring individual greatness by rings is foolish. Is Mario Chalmers a better PG than Chris Paul? Winning is everything right? Russell played with more HOFers than anybody in history and was coached by arguably the greatest coach & GM in NBA history. He was not asked to do anything what Wilt was. Wilt had to do Russell's job AND SCORE. Russell had HOFer's like Cousy (who was the bigger established star), Sam Jones, Tom Heinsohn, Sharman, Sam Jones, Havlicek, etc. All guys who could score and made CLUTCH plays along with Russ. Thats why rings are a TEAM accomplishment. Put Wilt on Russell's teams he gets even more rings, put Russ on Wilt's teams and ask him to do his job can he get 100? Can he get 50 a game? Can he carry teams to all time records that stand 40 years?

I mostly agree that winning is a team accomplishment, but comparing guys like Chalmers and CP3 is laughable; you can't say that about Russell and Wilt. In the end all that matters is rings no matter how you slice it. Wilt put up great individual stats, but in his prime he just never cared as much about winning as he did stats (according to many people). It's been said in the past that Wilt wasn't the best teammate, while Russell was the ultimate teammate. Now, obviously I don't know for sure, because I wasn't around back then, and the media coverage wasn't like it is now. Frankly, Wilt didn't really have a ton of success until he played the Bill Russell role and decided to focus on defense and rebounding and let guys like West, Goodrich, and McMillian handle the scoring load.

Now, one thing that is not debatable is that Wilt was the better individual player. Wilt is in a league of his own and no one is really all that close when it comes to putting up stats. When talking about greatness, however, Bill Russell is ahead of him, because talent doesn't necessarily make you great.

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I mostly agree that winning is a team accomplishment, but comparing guys like Chalmers and CP3 is laughable; you can't say that about Russell and Wilt.

I feel comparing a guy who never averaged 20 points and shot 44% for his career to a guy who once averaged 50 and shot 55% (while shooting 4 times as much as Russ) is laughable.

In the end all that matters is rings no matter how you slice it.

So Mario Chalmers is better than Chris Paul. If Paul were better he'd lead his team to a championship like Super Mario who even got a national championship in college. Paul isnt the winner that Mario is right?

Wilt put up great individual stats, but in his prime he just never cared as much about winning as he did stats (according to many people).

Those many people are probably biased sportswriters like Bill Simmons who is a Celtic homer and tries to diminish Wilt's greatness because Russ doesnt compare individually. Ive read 3 of Wilt's books and I never once seen a quote from him that he didnt care about winning. How do you anchor 2 of the best championship teams in NBA history that set the records for wins TWICE and hold a 33 game win streak that still stands if you don't care about winning?

It's been said in the past that Wilt wasn't the best teammate, while Russell was the ultimate teammate. Now, obviously I don't know for sure, because I wasn't around back then, and the media coverage wasn't like it is now. Frankly, Wilt didn't really have a ton of success until he played the Bill Russell role and decided to focus on defense and rebounding and let guys like West, Goodrich, and McMillian handle the scoring load.

Wilt was well into his 30s by then which is why the "Bill Russell role" was ideal. But he won a title in '67 (beating Russell on the way) in which he was the 5th leading scorer on his team. As far as being a bad teammate or a selfish one, Wilt led the league in assists in '68, and won a title in '67 playing unselfishly as his team's 5th leading scorer in the Finals (averaged 17.6). I think its unfair to try to portray a guy who was willing to do that in his PRIME (age 28) just to win as not a good teammate. Wilt gave up scoring in the 2nd half of his career because his coach Alex Hannum of the 76ers and Sharman of the Lakers asked him to. He did whatever he was asked to do to win.

Now, one thing that is not debatable is that Wilt was the better individual player. Wilt is in a league of his own and no one is really all that close when it comes to putting up stats. When talking about greatness, however, Bill Russell is ahead of him, because talent doesn't necessarily make you great.

I normally say Bill is the greatest winner, which he is, because he won everywhere he went, but the greatest player? Russell is not in that convo.

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Hell, Wilt would quit playing in games if he only had 1 foul left to give (part of the reason for his never fouling out streak which he was obsessed with).

Can you give me the game(s) that this occured? I've heard people make this claim but never seen anything to back it up. For his career Wilt averaged almost less than 2 fouls a game. He RARELY was in trouble of fouling out of games. "Quit" is a strong word for someone like Wilt who has 20 block games and averages over 20 boards for his career.

Only because he was white if we're being honest about that.

In his book Wilt talks about how in the 60's Celtics fans voted Bob Cousey the greatest Celtic. He said in the 70's they voted John Havlicek as the greatest Celtic. In the 80s, Larry Bird. Wilt's question was, how can Russell be better than him if his own fans don't consider him the greatest or put other HOFers above him?

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Can you give me the game(s) that this occured? I've heard people make this claim but never seen anything to back it up. For his career Wilt averaged almost less than 2 fouls a game. He RARELY was in trouble of fouling out of games. "Quit" is a strong word for someone like Wilt who has 20 block games and averages over 20 boards for his career.

In his book Wilt talks about how in the 60's Celtics fans voted Bob Cousey the greatest Celtic. He said in the 70's they voted John Havlicek as the greatest Celtic. In the 80s, Larry Bird. Wilt's question was, how can Russell be better than him if his own fans don't consider him the greatest or put other HOFers above him?

Source for that info is mostly Bill Simmons's book. Obviously I haven't seen the games either, so just going off of his information and the tape he watched doing his research. He's also biased being a Celtic fan, so I understand any reservation about my post as factual. As for Wilt's numbers, yes, they're impressive and never will be matched. But if you put Dwight in his prime in the same era...he would have inflated numbers as well. The game wasn't vertical then. There weren't as many athletes and high flying guys as today. Wilt hardly ever went against more than 1 guy even close to his size.

As far as the Celtics voting...again, it's Boston. The discrimination was rampant and the poo Russell, Wilt, Oscar, etc. had to put up with was ridiculous. A white guy's city, with white stars through every decade, are going to vote the white guy as their favorite. Doesn't mean they're better players at all...sadly just how it worked. If Wilt were on those same Boston teams...especially with his flamboyant nature compared to Russell's...I almost guarantee he would've had it worse and not been as well liked compared to Russell among the bigoted fans. Not to mention fans are often times idiots.

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