There’s a reason why one of Wilt Chamberlain’s many nicknames was “The Record Book”. During the span of his 14-year professional career, the 7-foot-1 center was at the forefront of some of the most legendary moments in basketball history. Many of those moments were in Philly, where he spent four seasons (1964-68), won regular season MVP three out of those four seasons and led the team to an NBA championship in 1967.
To commemorate the 29-year anniversary of Chamberlain’s No. 13 jersey being retired with the Sixers, let’s take a look at 13 of his most iconic achievements on the court that cemented him as one of the greatest basketball players of all time and one of sports’ most treasured athletes.
1. Rookie of the Year
1959 was quite the year for Chamberlain. By the end of his rookie season, he averaged 37 points, 27 rebounds, and made his first NBA All-Star appearance. Before he entered the league, no rookie had ever led the NBA in scoring until he totaled an unbelievable 2,707 points. Wilt the Stilt won Rookie of the Year and became the first rookie to be awarded league MVP. No one else stood a chance.
2. Chamberlain vs. Russell
Chamberlain and Bill Russell were known rivals on the court and to this day are neck and neck in some of the league’s all-time records. But on Nov. 24, 1960, Russell and his Boston Celtics were no competition for Chamberlain and his Philadelphia Warriors. Wilt set the NBA record for most rebounds in a single game with 55 rebounds. To this day, Wilt Chamberlain is the No. 1 rebound leader in NBA history (23,924 total). Bill Russell sits at No. 2 with 21,620.
3. The 100-point Game
It wouldn’t be a complete list of Wilt’s greatest achievements without mentioning the 100-point game. He may not have been a Sixer when he recorded it on March 2, 1962, but he was playing for Philadelphia back when the Warriors were the city’s team. The only person to ever come close to breaking Wilt’s record was the late Kobe Bryant, who dropped 81 points in a Lakers win against the Raptors in 2006.
4. 200 rebounds
In the 1965 Eastern Division playoff series that ended in defeat for the Sixers, Wilt still came out with a win. While competing against arch nemesis Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics, Chamberlain racked up the most rebounds in a seven-game playoff series with 220 total.
5. A team effort
During the 1966-67 season, Wilt took advice from then Sixers coach Alex Hannum and decided to focus more on assisting his teammates, passing the ball, and shooting less. That same year, Wilt and the Sixers eliminated the Celtics in the Eastern Division Finals and defeated the San Francisco Warriors in the NBA Finals. This was his first NBA Championship.
6. 1967 Eastern Division Finals
Chamberlain was instrumental in ending the Celtics eight-year run of NBA titles. The Boston Celtics fell short in the 1967 Eastern Division Finals (1-4) and failed to advance for the first time in 11 years. In Game 3 alone, Wilt scored just 20 points, but set a playoff record with 41 rebounds. He led the Sixers to the Finals and the team won their second NBA championship, beating the San Francisco Warriors. Alongside guys like Hal Greer and Billy Cunningham, Chamberlain and the ’67 Sixers logged a 68-13 record that year – their best record to date and the fifth best NBA record of all time.
Feb. 2, 1968, Chamberlain recorded the NBA’s first 20-20-20 feat in NBA history with 22 points, 25 rebounds, and 21 assists while competing against the Detroit Pistons. The only other player to do so was Russell Westbrook in 2019 – over 50 years later.
8. No breaks
The night of Wilt The Stilt’s 100-point game, he played the entire 48 minutes. When overtime was factored in, he averaged over 48 minutes by the end of the 1961-62 season earning him the top spot for most minutes played that year (3,882). Unreal.
9. No foul-outs
Chamberlain played a total 1,045 games throughout his 14-year career and managed to never foul out.
10. All-time scorer
Of the top five NBA All-Time scorers, Chamberlain holds the first (4,029 pts), second (3,586 pts), fourth (3,033 pts) and fifth (2,948 pts) spot, with Michael Jordan sandwiched in between him at No. 3 (3,041 pts).
11. Most 50-point games
Chamberlain is the only player in NBA history to break the 100 mark for most 50-point games, totaling 118. In terms of active players, James Harden is the closest to breaking that record – he has 23.
Chamberlain became the first NBA player to score 30,000 points in his career. He reached the milestone while still with the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 16, 1973, a month before his retirement.
13. No. 13
No. 13 wasn’t just his jersey number, it was also the amount of times he was an NBA All-Star. He was the All-Star Game MVP in 1960.
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.