Where Wilt ranks: Determining where former Jayhawk Wilt Chamberlain stands in relation to the greatest players of all time.Where Wilt ranks: Determining where former Jayhawk Wilt Chamberlain stands in relation to the greatest players of all time.

The recent Michael Jordan documentary “The Last Dance” on ESPN reignited debates among basketball fans over who the all-time greatest player was. While Jordan naturally tops most rankings, the discussion also frequently includes four or five other NBA greats. Among them, one moved to Kansas. Furthermore, although Wilt Chamberlain achieved incredible feats during his collegiate career and had a legendary effect on the game, his NBA career saw him eclipse those numbers while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia Warriors.

The Big Dipper may not be able to compete on the same level as Jordan and current Lakers superstar LeBron James based just on his stats. But when discussing the all-time great players, they must be taken into account at the very least. With averages of 30.1 points, 22.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game, Chamberlain concluded his career with these numbers. In addition, he led the league in assists during the 1967–68 campaign, averaging 8.6 per game to go along with 24.3 points and 23.8 rebounds.

Chamberlain did not average less than thirty points per game until his seventh NBA season. That occurred in the 1966–67 campaign, when he led Philadelphia with an average of 24 points and 24 rebounds. Prior to then, Chamberlain’s season averages were 37.6, 38.4, 50.4, 44.8, 36.9, 34.7, and 33.5, which are more similar to field goal and 3-point percentages. Additionally, Chamberlain averaged at least 22 rebounds per game throughout those first seven seasons.

During his third season in the league, 1961–1962, Chamberlain averaged 50.4 points and 27.5 rebounds per game, which is widely regarded as his best season. Even more astounding is one particular number from that season: the former Jayhawk averaged 48.5 minutes per game in a league where games are played to 48 minutes, and he played all 80 games without ever missing a beat. Blocked shots were not officially counted until the 1973–74 season, which was also Chamberlain’s first season outside the NBA. However, anyone who watched the 7-foot-1, 275-pound center in action would tell you that his defensive brilliance went far beyond clearing the defensive glass. Wilt had a good argument for being the most dominant player ever, even if he wasn’t the greatest to ever play.

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