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Wilt Chamberlain played for the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA. He is widely considered one of the greatest and most dominant players in NBA history. He is the only player to score 100 points in a single game, and he won two NBA Championships and four MVP awards.
See the fact file below for more information on the Wilt Chamberlain or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Wilt Chamberlain worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Early Life and Education
- Wilton Norman “Wilt” Chamberlain was born on August 21, 1936 to parents Olivia Ruth Johnson and William Chamberlain in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- Wilt had a relatively pleasant childhood, without any fondness for basketball and was more inclined to track and field. However, as he grew older, he developed a liking for basketball since it was the most popular sport in Philadelphia.
- He attended the Overbrook High School in Philadelphia where he became a standout varsity player for three years.
- Standing at 6’11” at the time, Chamberlain led his school’s varsity team to three winning seasons and two City Championships in 1954 and 1955, physically dominating other players.
- His coaches took full advantage of his gifts and would have the team practice missing their free throws just so Chamberlain could rebound and score field goals. Since goaltending was legal in basketball at the time, Wilt teased his teammates by tipping balls in on their way into the basket, even if they were already on target.
- When he reached his full height of an astonishing 7’1”, a local newspaper writer dubbed him as “Wilt the Stilt”, a moniker Chamberlain always disliked. He did not mind being called “The Big Dipper” or “Dipper”, a nickname given to him by friends as he always had to duck when passing through a door frame.
- In his high school basketball career, Chamberlain scored more than 2,200 points. During his senior year, he scored 800 points in his first 16 games and in one game alone, he scored 90 points against Roxborough High School.
- With his skills and performance, Chamberlain was named as one of the High School All-America Team in 1955, and was understandably the most coveted high school recruit in the United States at the time.
- Chamberlain’s astounding high school basketball career sparked the interest of more than two hundred universities, but he opted to get away from big cities and chose to play for the University of Kansas in the Midwest, as he was also recruited by legendary Hall of Fame coach Phog Allen.
- Wilt continued playing exceptional basketball during his stint at Kansas, scoring 52 points in his debut game in 1956, leading the Jayhawks to the finals of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament in 1957. The Jayhawks lost to North Carolina in double overtime, but Chamberlain was named the tournament’s “Most Outstanding Player”.
- He further excelled during his college career as he averaged over 30 points per game and was selected twice to be part of the All-American and All-Conference teams in 1957 and 1958.
- Since Wilt Chamberlain’s abilities were so far ahead of other players’, the League was forced to make several rule changes to accommodate them, such as widening the lane, making offensive goaltending illegal, and revising rules on inbounding and free throws.
- In his third year in college, Chamberlain found himself frustrated over some opposing teams’ tactics to guard him and decided to forego his senior year and pursue his basketball career professionally.
- Because he did not play his final season at Kansas, Chamberlain was not eligible to join the National Basketball Association (NBA) for one more year. He chose to spend his next season performing with the Harlem Globetrotters from 1958 to 1959 and travelled across the world entertaining audiences from all walks of life.
- A year after, Chamberlain was drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors in the 1959-1960 season and immediately earned attention and praise for his dominating presence on the court. He played his NBA debut in New York City, scoring 43 points against the Knicks.
- He became the first player in NBA history to be awarded Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year in the same season, and along the way set 8 NBA season records, including a 37.6 point and a 27 rebound averages per game.
- In the same season, he began his rivalry with Boston Celtics’ defensive star Bill Russell and became fierce competitors on the court, but eventually developed genuine friendship away from the game.
- Chamberlain’s most explosive season came in 1962 when he became the first NBA player to score 100 points in a game, setting a league record for the highest number of points scored in a single game (which he still holds today).
- By the end of the season, Wilt Chamberlain piled up more than 4,000 points – becoming the first NBA player to do so – scoring an average of 50.4 points per game. At the top of his game, Chamberlain was selected for the All-NBA first team for three consecutive years in 1960, 1961, and 1962.
From Philly to San Francisco and Back
- Despite his scoring achievements, Chamberlain and his teammates were not winning NBA championships, but he continued to play with the Warriors as they moved out from Philadelphia to San Francisco in 1962.
- As expected, he continued to play strong, averaging more than 44 points per game during the 1962-63 season and almost 37 points per game for the 1963-64 season.
- Chamberlain returned to his hometown in 1965 as he had been traded to the new Philadelphia 76ers, and finally in 1967, the tables had turned as his team finished the regular season with the league’s best record in history.
- On the way to the finals, he helped the 76ers in defeating the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Division Finals, after eight consecutive championship wins.
- In the championship series, the Philadelphia 76ers polished off his former team, San Francisco Warriors, to win the first world title for Chamberlain.
Los Angeles Lakers
- In 1968 Chamberlain was traded again, this time to the Los Angeles Lakers who had featured numerous great players through the years but had not won a championship since moving from Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1960.
- Chamberlain again proved his basketball prowess as he helped the Lakers win the 1972 NBA championship, winning over the New York Knicks in five straight games and was crowned Finals MVP. The Lakers finished the year with the best regular season in history, breaking the record set by Chamberlain with the 76ers in 1967.
- Wilt Chamberlain retired in 1973 and left the NBA as the league’s all-time leader in points scored, averaging 30.1 points per game – until Michael Jordan broke it in 1998. He had played in 1,045 games, winning four Most Valuable Player awards and setting more than 40 league records. Additionally, Chamberlain remains notable for never fouling out of an NBA game.
- After his retirement, Chamberlain explored other careers. He published his autobiography in 1973 entitled Wilt: Just Like Any Other 7-Foot Black Millionaire Who Lives Next Door.
- He also went on to coach and sponsor amateur athletic groups including volleyball and track and field.
- After getting roles in commercials, Chamberlain later tried out acting, appearing in the 1984 action film Conan the Destroyer with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
- Still, his accomplishments as an athlete were not forgotten. Chamberlain was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1979 and was named one of the top all-time 50 NBA players in 1996.
Death and Legacy
- Wilt Chamberlain died of heart failure on October 12, 1999 at his home in Los Angeles, California. He once said that “no one cheered for Goliath”, but the response to his passing proved that to be wrong.
- Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said, “Wilt was one of the greatest ever, and we will never see another like him”. His former rival Bill Russell also told the press that “he and I will be friends through eternity”.
Wilt Chamberlain Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Wilt Chamberlain across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Wilt Chamberlain worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Wilt Chamberlain who played for the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA. He is widely considered one of the greatest and most dominant players in NBA history. He is the only player to score 100 points in a single game, and he won two NBA Championships and four MVP awards.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Athlete Profile
- How Well Do You Know Wilt?
- Wilt’s Colors
- Chamberlain’s Progress
- Leading Legends
- Wilt’s Sneaks
- What’s In A Name
- Team Players
- Modern Day Icons
- 1979’s Basketball Greats
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Link will appear as Wilt Chamberlain Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, January 24, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.