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Wilt Chamberlain

From The Jayhawks To The Globetrotters To The Warriors

During his college years, Chamberlain played for all-conference and all-America teams, and again showed his prowess off the court at the Big Eight track and field championships, in which his 6'6" high jump won. He was eager to get on with his career, however, and for very practical reasons: he wanted to start earning money. Therefore, he finished out his junior year at Kansas and went on to the pros.

An NBA (National Basketball Association) rule at the time forbade professional teams from hiring college players whose class had not yet graduated. Therefore, Chamberlain spent the year 1958-59 on a team quite literally in a league of its own, a spot that earned him a salary of $50,000. Though hardly impressive in the world of pro basketball today, at the time this was an almost inconceivably large salary for a basketball player.

Chamberlain, who would later tour with the Globetrotters during a few summers in the 1960s, joined his first NBA team in 1959. Thanks to the "territorial" draft rule established by the NBA in 1955, a team could choose a local college player in exchange for its first-round draft pick. Even though Chamberlain had actually played for a school far away, Philadelphia Warriors owner Eddie Gottlieb claimed the Philadelphia native, and since Kansas had no NBA teams, there was no competition for the 7'1" juggernaut. Once again, Chamberlain earned a distinction, in this case as the only player in NBA history to become a territorial pick based on his roots prior to college.

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Famous Sports StarsBasketballWilt Chamberlain Biography - A Giant At An Early Age, Recruited By Kansas, From The Jayhawks To The Globetrotters To The Warriors - SELECTED WRITINGS BY CHAMBERLAIN: