Wilt Chamberlain Then and Now

By / July 7, 2024

Wilt Chamberlain Then

Wilt Chamberlain was born on August 21, 1936, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

Widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, Chamberlain made history as the first NBA player to score more than 30,000 points during his professional career. 

His dominance on the court began early in life, showcasing his extraordinary talent and physical prowess.

Chamberlain was a standout player at Overbrook High School in Philadelphia, where he played on the varsity team for three years and scored more than 2,200 points in total. 

Standing at 6’11” tall during his high school years, Chamberlain physically overpowered his opponents, eventually growing to his full height of 7’1″. 

His impressive stature earned him several nicknames. Though he disliked being called “Wilt the Stilt” or “the Stilt,” which originated from a local reporter, he was fond of the nickname “The Big Dipper” or “Dipper,” given by friends due to his need to duck his head when passing through doorways.

wilt chamberlain young
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When it was time for college, Chamberlain was highly sought after by top college basketball programs across the country. 

He ultimately chose to attend the University of Kansas. Making his debut with the Jayhawks in 1956, Chamberlain quickly made a significant impact, leading the team to the NCAA finals in 1957. 

Although the Jayhawks were defeated by North Carolina in a triple-overtime thriller, Chamberlain’s performance earned him the title of “Most Outstanding Player” of the tournament.

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His excellence continued in the following season, as he was named to the all-America and all-conference teams, further cementing his reputation as a basketball phenomenon.

Chamberlain’s college career set the stage for his legendary professional journey, where he continued to break records and redefine the game of basketball. 

His legacy extends beyond his remarkable scoring achievements, as he remains a symbol of athletic excellence and an inspiration for future generations of players.

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Wilt Chamberlain Career History

Leaving college in 1958, Wilt Chamberlain had to wait a year before going pro due to NBA rules. 

During this interim period, he chose to perform with the Harlem Globetrotters, a team renowned for its entertaining style and basketball wizardry. 

This experience not only kept Chamberlain in peak physical condition but also showcased his incredible skills to a broader audience.

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In 1959, Chamberlain finally joined the NBA, landing a spot with the Philadelphia Warriors. 

His professional debut was nothing short of spectacular; playing his first game in New York City against the Knicks, Chamberlain scored an astounding 43 points. 

This remarkable start set the tone for his rookie season, during which he earned the NBA Rookie of the Year and NBA Most Valuable Player awards.

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wilt chamberlain career
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This season also marked the beginning of his intense on-court rivalry with Celtics defensive star Bill Russell, which captivated fans and fueled one of the greatest player rivalries in basketball history. 

Despite their fierce competition, Chamberlain and Russell developed a mutual respect and friendship off the court.

Chamberlain’s most iconic season came in 1962. In March of that year, he set a league record by scoring 100 points in a single game, a feat that remains unparalleled in NBA history.

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By the end of the season, Chamberlain had accumulated over 4,000 points, becoming the first player to do so, and averaged an incredible 50.4 points per game. 

His dominance earned him a place on the All-NBA first team for three consecutive years: 1960, 1961, and 1962, solidifying his status as one of the league’s top players.

In 1962, the Warriors moved to San Francisco, and Chamberlain continued to excel, averaging over 44 points per game for the 1962-63 season and nearly 37 points per game for the 1963-64 season.

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In 1965, Chamberlain returned to his hometown, joining the Philadelphia 76ers. 

His impact was immediate, leading the team to an NBA championship victory over his former team, the Warriors. 

Along the way, he played a pivotal role in defeating the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Division Finals, ending their eight-year championship streak.

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This victory was particularly significant as it highlighted the intense and much-anticipated matchups between Chamberlain and Russell, drawing large crowds eager to witness the clash of these two legendary centers.

In 1968, Chamberlain was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he continued to demonstrate his prowess on the court. 

He helped the Lakers secure the 1972 NBA championship, triumphing over the New York Knicks in five consecutive games and was named the NBA Finals MVP. 

This achievement underscored Chamberlain’s enduring competitiveness and ability to lead his teams to success, further cementing his legacy as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

Wilt Chamberlain Height

Wilt Chamberlain stood at an impressive height of 2.16 meters (7 feet 1 inch), making him one of the tallest and most physically dominant players in the history of basketball.

wilt chamberlain height and weight
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Wilt Chamberlain Retirement

By the time he retired in 1973, Wilt Chamberlain had accumulated an extraordinary array of career statistics, cementing his status as one of the greatest basketball players in history. 

Over the course of 1,045 games, Chamberlain maintained an impressive average of 30.1 points per game, setting an NBA record that stood until Michael Jordan surpassed it in 1998. 

Remarkably, Chamberlain is also remembered for never fouling out of an NBA game, a testament to his disciplined and skillful play.

After retiring from basketball, Chamberlain embarked on various new ventures. In 1973, he published his autobiography, “Wilt: Just Like Any Other 7-Foot Black Millionaire Who Lives Next Door,” offering a candid look at his life and experiences both on and off the court. 

Chamberlain also explored coaching for a period, although his true impact remained on the court rather than the sidelines. 

His charisma and popularity made him a sought-after figure in advertising, leading to numerous appearances in commercials.

Chamberlain’s post-basketball career also saw him venture into the world of acting. In 1984, he appeared in the action film “Conan the Destroyer,” starring alongside Schwarzenegger.

This role allowed Chamberlain to showcase his larger-than-life persona in a new arena, adding yet another dimension to his multifaceted legacy. 

Through his varied pursuits, Chamberlain continued to captivate audiences and leave an indelible mark on popular culture long after his final game.

Wilt Chamberlain Now

wilt chamberlain age now
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Wilt Chamberlain died of heart failure on October 12, 1999, at his home in Los Angeles. 

Despite his imposing presence and the nickname “Goliath,” Chamberlain’s passing revealed the deep respect and admiration held for him across the basketball world and beyond. 

His remark that “no one cheered for Goliath” was proven wrong as fans and fellow athletes alike mourned his loss and celebrated his remarkable legacy. 

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar reflected on Chamberlain’s unique greatness, stating, “Wilt was one of the greatest ever, and we will never see another like him.” 

Bill Russell, his longtime rival and friend, poignantly noted, “he and I will be friends through eternity,” highlighting the enduring bond and mutual respect that had developed between the two giants of the game.

Today, Wilt Chamberlain’s legacy remains an integral part of basketball history. 

His records and accomplishments are still celebrated, and his influence on the game is undeniable. 

Chamberlain’s 100-point game, his remarkable scoring averages, and his dominance on the court set a standard for excellence that continues to inspire players. 

Beyond his statistics, Chamberlain is remembered for his charisma, versatility, and contributions to the sport. 

His life and career continue to be a source of fascination and admiration for basketball enthusiasts, ensuring that his impact on the game endures through the generations.

Wilt Chamberlain’s Net Worth

Wilt Chamberlain, an iconic American basketball player, had a net worth of $10 million at the time of his death. 

His financial success was a testament to his remarkable career and the significant impact he had on the sport. 

Chamberlain’s earnings came not only from his NBA contracts but also from his ventures off the court. 

His charisma and popularity made him a sought-after figure in advertising, leading to numerous endorsements and commercial appearances. 

Additionally, Chamberlain’s involvement with the Harlem Globetrotters and his post-retirement activities, including coaching, acting, and writing, contributed to his wealth.


What was Wilt Chamberlain’s cause of death?

Wilt Chamberlain died of heart failure on October 12, 1999.

Did Wilt really score 100 points?

Yes, Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a single NBA game on March 2, 1962, setting a record that still stands today.

Why did Wilt Chamberlain retire?

Wilt Chamberlain retired in 1973 after a 14-year career, feeling that he had accomplished all he could in basketball and wanting to pursue other interests.

What was Wilt Chamberlain famous for?

Wilt Chamberlain was famous for his dominant basketball career, including scoring 100 points in a single game, averaging over 30 points per game, and never fouling out of a game.

Where is Wilt Chamberlain now?

Wilt Chamberlain passed away on October 12, 1999. He is no longer alive.

Who did Wilt Chamberlain leave his money to?

Wilt Chamberlain’s estate was divided among his family, friends, and various charitable organizations, although specific details of his beneficiaries have not been widely publicized.

Did Wilt Chamberlain have kids?

No, Wilt Chamberlain did not have any known children.

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