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Wilt Chamberlain - Beginnings Of Rivalry With Bill Russell

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:

Beginnings of Rivalry with Bill Russell

During that 1959-60 season, Chamberlain averaged 37.6 points and 27 rebounds per game, and earned the title of NBA rookie of the year, all-star game MVP, and NBA MVP. He was also selected for the All-NBA First Team. Once again, Chamberlain was virtually without equal: other than Wes Unseld nine years later, no other player would win rookie and MVP recognition in a single year.


1936 Born August 21 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to William and Olivia Chamberlain
1955 Finishes high school career with a total of 2,252 points scored in four years, joins the University of Kansas Jayhawks freshman team
1957 Leads Kansas in the NCAA championships against North Carolina, and earns the title of MVP for the tournament
1958 Leaves Kansas in his junior year, and begins a season with the Harlem Globetrotters, earning a then-unheard of $50,000 a year
1959 Begins his professional career with the Philadelphia Warriors
1960 Engages in the first of eight different NBA championship playoffs against Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics
1961 Begins the season in which he becomes the only player in NBA history to score more than 4,000 points in a single season
1962 Scores 100 points, setting an NBA record for the most points by a single player in a single game, against the New York Knicks on March 2
1962 Moves with the Warriors to San Francisco
1965 Two days after the NBA All-Star Game, is traded to the new Philadelphia 76ers
1966 Leads the Sixers to the best record in the league (55-25)
1967 Capping off a year in which the Philadelphia 76ers set a new league record with a 68-13 season, leads the team to victory over Boston in division finals, and over the San Francisco Warriors in the championships
1968 Traded to Los Angeles Lakers
1972 Leads the Lakers to a season record better than that of Philadelphia in 1966-67 (69-13), and to the second of two NBA championship victories, against the Knicks
1973 Retires with what were then all-time records for total points scored (31,419) and average points per game (30.1), as well as number of rebounds (23,924) and average rebounds per game (22.9)
1991 Publishes second autobiography, A View from Above, containing controversial boast of 20,000 sexual conquests
1999 Dies of heart attack in his sleep at his home in the Bel-Air section of Los Angeles on October 12

Awards and Accomplishments

1957 NCAA Tournament MVP, unanimous first team all-America
1958 Unanimous first team all-America
1960 NBA rookie of the year and most valuable player; NBA all-star and all-NBA first team; record for most points (2,707, or 37.6 ppg) and rebounds (1,941, or 27.0 rpg) in a rookie year, and for most points by a rookie in a single game (58, on January 25)
1961 NBA all-star and all-NBA first team
1962 NBA all-star, NBA all-star MVP, and all-NBA first team; all-time record for most points scored in a single game (100, on March 2); seasonal records for most minutes (3,338, or 41.7 mpg), most points (4,029, or 50.4 ppg), field goals made (1,597), and field goals attempted (3,159); single-game all-star record for most points (42)
1963-65 NBA all-star and all-NBA second team
1966 NBA most valuable player; NBA all-star and all-NBA first team
1967 NBA championship with the Philadelphia 76ers; NBA most valuable player; NBA all-star and all-NBA first team
1968 NBA most valuable player; NBA all-star and all-NBA first team
1969-71 NBA all-star
1972 NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers; NBA all-star and finals MVP; all-NBA second team, NBA all-defensive first team
1973 NBA all-star and all-defensive first team
1978 Elected to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
1980 Named to NBA 35th anniversary all-time team
1996 Named to NBA 50th anniversary all-time team

The Warriors, which Chamberlain propelled from last place to second place, went up against the Celtics in the 1960 NBA playoffs, thus beginning the legendary Chamberlain-Russell rivalry. This was the first of eight years in which a team on which Chamberlain played would meet the Celtics in the playoffs, but only once would Chamberlain's team gain victory over the Celtics.

After the 4-2 loss to Boston in the series, Chamberlain stunned fans by announcing that he was thinking of retiring after just one season. Precisely because of his size, he was taking too much of a pounding from opposing teams, who worked to level the playing field, on the way committing numereous hard fouls against him. Chamberlain himself never fouled out once in 1,045 regular-season and 160 playoff games, a hallmark of his even temper on the court. Of course, one could argue that he did not have to get angry, given his physical dominance. In any case, all the abuse on the court was taking its toll on his body, and to combat the effects, Chamberlain, who was already strong, made himself even stronger. He worked out with weights, and by the time he reached the peak of his career, he tip the scale at 300 lean, fast, muscular pounds.

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