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BLOG: The Big Dipper at 75

Wilt Chamberlain - Getty

By Tim Jimenez

Wilton Norman Chamberlain was born 75 years ago in Philadelphia. He is forever an icon at Overbrook High and in Philly hoops. He was the Babe Ruth of the NBA and possibly the greatest basketball player who ever lived.

I’ll save the discussion of Jordan or Wilt (or Russell) for another blog and what could be a 5 hour podcast debate over who was the real G.O.A.T.

One of the best ways to describe ‘The Big Dipper’ is ‘larger than life.’ Whenever I see old pictures of Wilt I can’t help but notice how other players look so small compared to him. He was 7’1 and it was a different era, but images of the lanky, powering Center add to the legend.

Here are a couple of numbers that stick out:

- 31,419 Career points, averaging 30.1 PPG.
– Career 22.9 RPG (Just to compare. Dwight Howard 12.85 RPG)
– He averaged 50.4 PPG and 25.7 RPG for the ’61-62 season.
– He is the only player in NBA history to have a double-triple-double: 22 points 25 rebounds and 21 assists. (Feb 2, 1968 vs. Detroit Pistons)
– Wilt is the only player in NBA history to have a quadruple-double. That’s any combination of 40 points, 40 rebounds or 40 assists. (Wilt did it five times!)
– 100 Point Game vs. the Knicks (enough said.)

They even had to change the rules because of Wilt. They widened the lane to keep him away from the hoop and created offensive goaltending. And, imagine if they actually kept blocked shot stats back then?!

How about this? Wilt used to dunk his shots at the line, leaping from the charity stripe until that was banned.

So, this week, my guest on Talkin’ Hoops is legendary Philadelphia sportscaster Mr. Bill Campbell.

Bill was the play-by-play announcer for the old Philadelphia Warriors and later on the Sixers. He watched Wilt put up historic numbers including Wilt’s signature moment in Hershey on March 2, 1962.

Listen to the interview:

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