Wilt Chamberlain may not be around anymore but his impact on the game of basketball and sneakers is still felt today. Born on August 21, 1936 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he grew to be a dominating and strong 7’1″ man. His height and athleticism earned him nicknames like “Wilt the Stilt” (which he hated), “Goliath,” and his favorite, “The Big Dipper.” Not surprisingly, he dominated in high school in Philadelphia before heading to the University of Kansas for school. There he helped lead the Jayhawks to the NCAA Finals. Although the team lost to North Carolina that didn’t stop Chamberlain from being awarded “Most Outstanding Player” and being named to all-America and all-Conference teams.
Feeling he achieved all he could in college and looking to make money, Wilt left college after his junior year. But unlike the more current NBA rules, he could not become a pro so he joined the Harlem Globetrotters. Not surprisingly, he kicked butt and enjoyed his one year with the Globetrotters so much he would play for them during the offseason throughout his life and even had his #13 retired by the club.
In 1959, Chamberlain made his professional debut for his hometown Philadelphia Warriors who he followed to San Francisco in 1962. During his rookie year he averaged an amazing 37.6 points and 27 rebounds breaking records left and right as a Warrior. Oh and he had a 100-point game. Eventually, he was traded back to his hometown of Philadephia, this time to be a 76er. That is where he started a great rivalry and found his kryptonite, the Bill Russel-lead Boston Celtics. The rivalry even continued when Chamberlain was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.
After the 1973 season, Wilt retired from the NBA finishing with an average of 30.1 points per game and his name attached to records of all sorts. Can you imagine that he achieved those feats while wearing Converse Chuck Taylor All Star’s during his career? Stars like Jerry West and Bill Russel may have also worn Chucks, but Wilt is associated with Chucks as much as any other person. The Hall of Famer passed away in 1999 but his love life, basketball, and sneaker legacy all live on.