Chamberlain, Wilt (Wilton Norman Chamberlain), 1936–99, American basketball player, b. Philadelphia. At the Univ. of Kansas he was a two-time All-American center. During 14 seasons in the National Basketball Association, “Wilt the Stilt” (over 7 ft 1 in./216 cm) led the league in scoring seven consecutive seasons (1959–65), was the leader in field goal percentage 9 times, the top rebounder 11 times, and the most valuable player 4 years (1960, 1966–68). The most dominant player of his era, he played with the Philadelphia Warriors and 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers. Famed for his long-standing rivalry with Boston's Bill Russell, Chamberlain set many records, including 100 points scored in a game (1962, against the New York Knicks) and 23,924 career rebounds; his records for most points (31,419) and highest career average (30.1) have since been broken. His controversial autobiography, View from Above (1991), focuses on the lifestyle of a professional athlete.
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Chamberlain, (Wilton Norman) Wilt “The Stilt”(1936– ) basketball player; born in Philadelphia. An All-American at Kansas University, he played for the Harlem Globetrotters for a year (1958) before joining the National Basketball Association (NBA) Philadelphia Warriors (1959–65), Philadelphia 76ers (1965–68), and Los Angeles Lakers (1968–73). A seven-foot center, he led the NBA in scoring seven times and rebounding eleven times, and he was named the NBA's Most Valuable Player four times (1960, 1966–68). He scored a record 100 points in a game against the New York Knicks in 1962 at Hershey, Pa., and in 1960 he pulled a record 55 rebounds in a game against his chief rival, Bill Russell, of the Boston Celtics. In 1978, Chamberlain was elected to basketball's Hall of Fame and he is generally conceded to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time. In later years he devoted himself to promoting volleyball, in which he also excelled.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.