Greetings everyone and I hope you all have had a good holiday. I figured I would try to get everyone talking about some things other than Halo and see where your interests lie. I am personally very interested in sports, cars, and just learning more about all kinds of things. I also very much like communicating with others to hear how you all view stuff. So this will be my first post of this kind, I have more topics in mind in sports and just other general topics and I would love to hear how you all view my topics. Feel free to disagree with me and tell me why I am wrong, but please do more than just say "you are dumb/wrong/stupid/whatever," give me some good valid points to discuss and let the conversations begin!
Subject: NBA's Greatest Player
The NBA was founded in 1946 and has seen hundreds of great and unique players grace its hardwood floors. As time goes on the question inevitably is raised, "Who is/was the greatest player of all time?" This question can be answered in many different ways, some people say those who have won the most (Bill Russell) are the clearly the greatest, others say that the greatest career per game scoring average (Michael Jordan) show greater talent, and still others value longevity of performance (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) as the primary indicator. I have tried to listen to all points of view and come to the most reasonable conclusion that many may disagree with. The greatest player to ever grace the hardwood, in my view, is Wilton Norman Chamberlain.
Wilt Chamberlain was drafted into the NBA by the Philadelphia Warriors in the 1959 NBA draft. Wilt, who had spent his college days at Kansas and one year playing point guard for the Harlem Globetrotters made an immediate impact. Wilt scored an incredible 37.6 points per game and grabbing an even more astounding 27 rebounds per game while winning Rookie of the Year, NBA All Star Game MVP, and NBA MVP. Wilt also managed to begin his assault on the record book by grabbing a mind boggling 55 rebounds in a game against the greatest defensive center of the time, Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics. The entire NBA had been put on notice. The following year was more of the same for Wilt, no one had figured out how to slow the Big Dipper down, he averaged the highest per game rebounding total (27.2 per game) in NBA history. But those first two years were nothing compared to 1961-62's NBA season. In the 61-62 year, the Warriors hired a new head coach, Frank McGuire, who told Wilt that the offense was his, it showed. Wilt Chamberlain had a season that will never be matched, 50.4PPG, 25.7 RPG, 48.5 Minutes per game (he only missed 8 minutes that entire season for being ejected), and he shot 50.6% from the field. Not only were his per game averages insane, that year Wilt also set another record that will never be topped, he scored 100 points in a single game against the Knicks on March 2nd, 1962. Just for reference, that year Wilt scored 5 of the top 10 highest point totals in a single game, all time (100, 78, 73, 73, 72). Wilt's next huge accomplishment was winning a ring, which he did in historic fashion, of course. His 76ers won more games (at that time) than any other NBA team (68-13) and finally toppled his long time foe, the Boston Celtics led by Bill Russell. The following year Wilt led the league in assists, though injuries spoiled his hopes to repeat. His next move was to the LA Lakers, where despite having had his knee reconstructed due to torn ligaments in the 9th game of the 69-70 season, he continued to lead his Lakers team to the Finals, winning his second title and the first for the Lakers since their move to LA in 1972. Wilt retired in 1973 as the NBA's all time leader in points (currently 5th behind 3 players with lower ppg averages), points per game (currently second, .05 ppg behind Michael Jordan), rebounds (23,924 still leads), rebounds per game (22.9 still leads), minutes per game (45.8 still leads) and a slew of other individual records.
Those numbers and that career should speak for themselves, but Wilt's numbers are so astronomical that people try to disqualify him for a number of reasons, which I will attempt to dispel. The first and most common way to try and discredit Wilt is to attack his competition by saying, he had none, or that he was a 7'1" player going up against 5'5" centers. That is simply not true. In the 1960's, when Wilt was at his most dominant, players were, on average, taller than they were today. (http://www.ign.com/boards/threads/interesting-fact-the-players-of-the-60s-were-just-as-tall-as-today.250054137/). This surprised me, to be honest, I expected players today to be taller, but not by a lot. As it turns out though, the NBA was just as tall then as it is now. The talent level, at center anyway, was also there, here are a list of centers/power-forwards Wilt regularly played against that are included in the NBA Hall of Fame;
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (later in his career)
To name a few...
Wilt also caught a bad image by not winning more titles, and I feel that is simply not fair. Peyton Manning suffers from the same problem in that what they were able to do individually was so great that if they won, it was no surprise, they should, but if they lost it was always well how could they? They must be a choker or not be that good. People fail to realize that it is a team game and Russell never once beat Chamberlain, the Celtics beat the Warriors/76ers/Lakers. Wilt routinely outscored and outrebounded Russell, and based on many account, out blocked him (Although stats on blocks were not kept when Wilt played there were 112 games where his block totals were counted and he averaged 8.8 blocks per game. Link: https://www.reddit.com/r/nba/comments/3s7rlj/heres_112_nba_games_where_shot_block_data_exists/). If you want to see how much Wilt meant to a team, look what the team did the first year post Wilt:
Warriors: Went from 48 wins in the 64 season to 35 wins in the 66 season (the first full year after he left, 17 wins in the 65 season).
76ers: Went from 62 wins in the 68 season to 55 wins in the 69 season.
Lakers: Went from 60 wins in the 73 season to 47 wins in the 74 season.
Wilt played on teams that were not the same caliber as Russell's teams that never had less than 5 hall of famers on it in any given season (he had 9 hall of famers on his 62-63 season's Celtic team). Wilt's teams made it where they did because of him, they would not have been a contender without him. The last thing I really hear people say is they thought he was just a tall goon who could only dunk and shoot layups, simply a result of size. When Wilt was younger, his game was not a power game, he shot fade-aways, hook shots, and finger rolls. He played in a manner specifically to show that he was not good simply because he was tall. It is hard to tell because most of his game footage is from his Laker years when his knee was shot and he was not the same player (Here is some younger Wilt footage that survived, there are three parts to the game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ti2Ncll2K64). Wilt was clocked by his college track coach as running a 4.4 second 40 yard dash, he could bench (based on numerous accounts) over 500lbs in his prime (which is more than Shaq could, 450), he could touch the top of the backboard on a one step jump, and there are a lot (including the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger) who say Wilt was able to pick them up with one hand and very little effort. Wilt Chamberlain was a 7'1" physical monster, nobody in any era could keep up.
Now I will concede that the pace of the game has slowed considerably over the years so I doubt that 55 rebound games are still possible. Wilt probably would not take as many shots today as he did then due to pacing alone. But, on his behalf, you can not hand check today, which would free Wilt up more, he may take fewer shots but I'm willing to bet he would shoot a higher field-goal percentage. It is hard to say what exactly Wilt would do in today's NBA but I have no problem saying he would dominate just like he did in the 60's. I also want to state that this is by no means meant to diminish the other greats of the game like Jordan, Kareem, Magic, Lebron, Kobe, Bird, Duncan, etcetera. This is only meant to highlight how great Wilt was and to try and get some newer fans to look into the game's storied past. I believe championships count, I believe longevity and versatility count, and I believe stats count. That is why I did not pick just one of those as my basis for thinking Chamberlain is the greatest. Wilt won championships, but it is a team game so he can not lose or win alone, he has over 90 NBA records to his name still though some have been eclipsed, he played for 14 season, through a broken nose, torn ligaments, a broken hand, and many more injuries, and he played point guard, at 7 feet tall for the Harlem Globetrotters. Wilt could do anything on a basketball court, he was a player that was sadly before his time and bigger than the game he played. I'll include some links below for those who are interested in what he did, but this is where I turn it over to you all. What do you think? Have a made a convincing argument or do you feel I am mistaken? I look forward to reading all of your responses.