Basketball Legends: Wilt Chamberlain
In the pantheon of basketball greats, most people hold that the greatest ever to play the game was Michael Jordan. However, if there is to be a challenger to that title, the most deserving person to take that mantle would have to be Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain. His nickname was taken from the fact that Chamberlain’s height at the time of his NBA career was a massive seven feet and one inch. At one time in his career he weighed 300 lbs, and he is the only player ever to have scored 100 points in a single NBA match – for the Philadelphia Warriors against the New York Knicks.
The “Stilt” nickname was actually coined during his high school days by a sportswriter in his native Philadelphia, and in actual fact the name was disliked by Chamberlain himself, who felt that it pigeonholed him simply as a tall person. Like it or not, the name stuck and as Chamberlain went on to be one of the greatest players ever to play the game it has lived on even after his death in 1999, at the age of 63. In life and as a player of the game, Chamberlain was broadly admired, considered a thoroughly nice person even in light of the claims in his 1991 autobiography that he had slept with close to 20,000 women in his life.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about Chamberlain’s career point-scoring record is that it was achieved entirely before the introduction of the three-point rule, meaning that all of his baskets earned only two points each. Additionally, he had a famously atrocious record from one-point free throws (although on the day that he scored a hundred points in a game he managed to hit 28 out of 32 free throws – a career anomaly).