Wilt Chamberlain is certainly one of the most dominant big men to every play the game, posting gaudy numbers across the board throughout his career. During Chamberlain’s stint as a member of the Lakers, though, he is remembered less for individual achievements and more for becoming a team-oriented defensive anchor. There were still moments, however, where Wilt The Stilt showed flashes of his former self while playing in LA.
Let’s take a look at the top five moments in Chamberlain’s time on the Lakers.
5. Wilt Shoots 72.7 Percent
In his last season of professional basketball, Chamberlain managed to break one more NBA record on his way out. By shooting 72.7 percent from the field, he topped the old record of 68.2 percent that was set just six years prior by (guess who) Wilt Chamberlain. Though it was Chamberlain’s lowest scoring season of his career, the fact that he made nearly three out of every four shots he took speaks wonders by itself. The record remains untouched, with the closest attempt to break it was Tyson Chandler back in the 2011-12 season, but even he shot a meager (in comparison) 67.8 percent.
4. Wilt Carries the Lakers to Force Game 7 in the 1970 NBA Finals
Though an early knee injury caused Chamberlain to miss most of the regular season, his presence in the playoffs was key to the Lakers reaching the Finals for a third consecutive season. Chamberlain posted averages of 22.1 points and 22.2 rebounds, but his biggest performance came when the Lakers had their backs against the wall. Facing elimination against the New York Knicks in Game 6, Chamberlain put up 45 points and 27 rebounds en route to a 135-113 victory for LA. In Game 7, Wilt had a great outing once more, with 22 points and 24 rebounds. It was all in vain, however, as the Lakers ended up losing in the NBA Finals for the third straight season.
3. Wilt Blocks Kareem’s Sky Hook…Twice
Before Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ever donned a Lakers jersey, he was the young up-and-coming center for the Milwaukee Bucks who was wowing crowds everywhere with his signature sky hook shot. Chamberlain, being in the twilight of his career, obviously disliked the idea of being out-shined by any young gun making his way up the ranks. These two legends went to battle on numerous occasions, with Abdul-Jabbar almost always outperforming Wilt statistically. There was one occasion, however, where Chamberlain bested Kareem and his go-to shot, not just once — but twice in the same possession. These consecutive blocks showed that Chamberlain still had some gas in the tank and that he would not pass the torch down quietly or very willingly.
2. The 33-Game Winning Streak
Chamberlain’s time with the Lakers was also marked with another record-setting performance, when he contributed to a current NBA record 33-game winning streak. Throughout the streak, Chamberlain averaged 12.5 points per game and the Lakers eventually finished with 69 wins on the season, a win total only eclipsed by the 72-win Chicago Bulls in 1995-96. The win streak, like his field goal percentage record, remains in tact atop the record books and is but one more bench mark on Chamberlain’s remarkable career.
1. Wilt Comes Up Big To Clinch LA’s First NBA Title
After several years of falling short of the summit of NBA success, the Lakers finally managed to bring home their first championship since moving to Los Angeles from Minneapolis. This series win was due to a monster Game 5 from Wilt, that featured him scoring 24 points, grabbing 29 rebounds, all on top of his four assists and six blocks. The Lakers initially fell behind 0-1 in the series to the Knicks, but Chamberlain lead the charge with 21.3 points per game over the next four contests to seal the franchise’s first championship since the 1953-54 season. Chamberlain stepped up big time in the clutch to clinch his second NBA title and helped to deliver the first of many championships for Los Angeles.
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