Pro Legends of Streetball: Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt Chamberlain was prolific in every aspect of his game. Points, rebounds, and who can forget the women (over 20,000 enjoyed “the Stilt’s company” if you believe the legend). Talking basketball along, Chamberlain re-wrote the record books during his storied NBA career, setting the standard in categories like most points in an NBA season (4,029), most rebounds all-time (23,924), and most seasons leading the NBA in minutes played (8). Top off those mind-blowing stats with numerous MVP awards, All-Star game appearances, and two NBA championships and Chamberlain easily ranks as one of the greatest players in league history. What a lot of people don’t know, however, is that Wilt’s greatness stretched beyond the Association and included a pretty impressive resume in the world of streetball.
While still a gangly high-schooler, and in the presence of Celtics coach Red Auerbach, Chamberlain played 1-on-1 against B.H. Born – a national champ at Kansas University and the 1953 NCAA Finals Most Valuable Player. Wilt beat Born so bad (25-10) that the KU star gave up on a promising NBA career, packed his bag and ball, and became a tractor engineer instead. In the summer of 1957, again having yet to play a minute in the NBA, Chamberlain brought his talents to NYC and the world famous Rucker Park. While on streetball’s most hallowed ground, Chamberlain cemented his legacy by taking down a team of all-stars that included future New York Knicks player Cal Ramsey. The love affair with NYC streetball went beyond ’57 though and into his playing career as Chamberlain returned to the Big Apple during his off-seasons to rub elbows with fellow NBA stars and streetball legends in a pro league held at Rucker Park. While no official stats were kept, you can bet Wilt set a few records in those legendary games too.