Fifty years after participating in his last NBA game, Wilt Chamberlain: “This is Paul Bunyan.”

Wilt Chamberlain’s NBA career came to an end with a dunk, which was promptly followed by the New York Knicks’ triumphant celebration. After 14 seasons, 4 MVP awards, 13 All-Star selections, 2 championships, and a final curtain call on May 10, 1973, at the Forum in Inglewood, California, the journey came to an end.

Fifty years ago today, 17,505 people watched as Chamberlain’s Lakers lost Game 5 of the NBA Finals 102-93. And on the other side of the court, Chamberlain stood by himself, exhausted and frustrated after a taxing 48 minutes of play, taking it all in as the Knicks celebrated their second title.

  1. The enormous center, who thrilled the crowd with 31,419 points, 23,924 rebounds, and innumerable records in 1,205 regular-season and postseason games combined, wasn’t having the best of times on that Thursday. And even though he, Jerry West, Gail Goodrich, and the rest of the Lakers were unable to win the league again, in many ways Chamberlain’s NBA career ended with a fresh start.

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