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5 Myths About Wilt Chamberlain

"Wilt Chamberlain was a selfish player. He played to score, not to pass." Wilt Chamberlain received approximately 100 passes per game throughout his career. That's more than all but 3 or 4 players do today. Of course, unlike Michael Jordan, who averaged about 40 points in the same period of time, Chamberlain was not playing against anybody who could stop him. If you ever saw Chamberlain play, you'd remember how unimaginably quick he was for his size - the man ran faster than most of today's guards.

He could easily outrace any player trying to guard him. That meant that all he had to do was get past the other player and he would be in the clear. Once Chamberlain was ahead, it was over - there was no way he'd get caught from behind by anybody except Wilt himself. And if you think that the opposing players weren't trying to stop him, consider this: In one game against San Francisco, Chamberlain got 39 rebounds - higher than any player has gotten in one game since.

How did wilt lose his arm?

Wilt Chamberlain is the only man to ever score 100 points in an NBA game. He scored 60 or more points 47 times during his career (including a 100-point game and two games where he scored 73). No other player has done that even once. He averaged 50.4 ppg over his first 7 seasons, and Wilt himself has said he could have averaged over 50 every year if they would have kept him in the game. Nobody can deny that Wilt Chamberlain was an incredibly talented offensive player - the only wonder is how much more dominant he might have been if he had played in a different era against better competition.

Wilt Chamberlain was not a good free throw shooter.

That is a myth, too. Wilt Chamberlain's high school coach taught him to shoot free throws underhanded, and he continued to use that technique throughout his career. However, the release was different - he released the ball three-quarters of the way up instead of at the top like Rick Barry. That one inch made all the difference in the world.

Wilt Chamberlain was not a great passer.

To the contrary, Chamberlain was one of the best passing forwards in basketball history. He led his teams to championships with pinpoint passing. For proof, look no further than his performance against Bill Russell during the 1969 NBA Finals (the year after he scored 100 points in a game). On February 2nd of that year, Chamberlain got 19 assists in a game, which went down as the second highest total in NBA history until Magic Johnson tied it.

Wilt Chamberlain did not have a good jump shot.

This is one myth that's true. Chamberlain had a pretty bad jump shot. However, he was not required to rely on his jumper very often because of the way he dominated in the key. He made up for it by being an incredible offensive rebounder - nobody ever attacked the boards like Wilt Chamberlain did. It was said that he was like "two men in one" because he could rebound like a forward and score like a center.

He led the league in rebounding for 11 consecutive years, averaging 22 rebounds per game over his career, which is just about average for an entire game by one player today. Wilt Chamberlain would have made an excellent small forward if he had been able to develop a better jump shot.

Wilt Chamberlain did not dunk very often or very well.

Disregard this myth. Wilt Chamberlain did indeed dunk often - he was credited with more than 5,000 dunks in his career. And many of them were overhanded, no-look, behind the back slams that left opponents and fans open-mouthed in disbelief. As for how well he dunked, let's just say he had two rings and leave it at that.

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