Facts About Wilt Chamberlain

by Scott Levin
Wilt Chamberlain became an iconic figure during his NBA career.

Wilt Chamberlain became an iconic figure during his NBA career.

Brian Bahr/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Wilt Chamberlain is considered one of the greatest players in NBA history. The 7-foot-1 center played in 1,045 NBA games over 14 seasons and made the All-Star team in 13 of those seasons. Following his playing days, Chamberlain was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978. His illustrious career included a plethora of awards, records and achievements that few players since have been able to match.


Chamberlain was born on Aug. 21, 1936, in Philadelphia. He had eight brothers and sisters. Chamberlain's father was employed by a publishing company while his mother performed housework in the neighborhood. Chamberlain developed an interest in basketball at a young age, and when he began playing at Philadelphia's Overbrook High School, he already stood nearly 7 feet tall.


More than 200 colleges came calling, hoping to land the dominant center. Chamberlain chose to attend the University of Kansas, where he would play for two seasons. Both seasons resulted in Chamberlain being named to the AP All-America First Team. During his first season at the school in 1956-57, Chamberlain was the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player.


The Philadelphia Warriors selected Chamberlain as a territorial pick in the 1959 NBA Draft, bringing Chamberlain back to his hometown. The big man wasted no time making his mark. He won Rookie of the Year, All-Star Game MVP and MVP in his first season while leading the league in points and rebounds. During his career, he became well-known for posting 100 points in a single game, a still-standing NBA record as of June 2011.

Career Achievements

When Chamberlain retired in 1973, his dominance was evident throughout league record books. Over his career, Chamberlain won two league championships and four regular-season MVP trophies. He led the league in points seven times, rebounds 11 times and even topped the NBA in assists during the 1967-68 season. As of June 2011, Chamberlain was the NBA's all-time leader in rebounds (23,294), rebounds per game (22.9) and minutes per game (45.8). He was second all-time in points per game with 30.2.


Chamberlain dabbled in other avenues after his playing career. In 1991, he published a book titled "A View From Above." In the book, Chamberlain claimed that he had slept with 20,000 women. In 1996, the league named Chamberlain to its "50 Greatest Players in NBA History" list. Chamberlain died in 1999 in Los Angeles of heart failure.

About the Author

Based in California, Scott Levin has served as a writer and copy editor since 2000. His articles have appeared in the "Chico News & Review," "Wildcat Illustrated," the "Chico Enterprise-Record" and on websites such as The Sports Informant. Levin earned his Bachelor of Arts in journalism from California State University, Chico.

Photo Credits

  • Brian Bahr/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images