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Wilt Chamberlain's Death

Wilt Chamberlain

The life and death of Wilt Chamberlain:

"Goliath", the "Big Dipper" and "Wilt the Stilt". These were among the colorful nicknames for this literal giant of basketball. At seven feet, one inch, Wilt Chamberlain changed professional basketball, helping to usher in the era of very tall players like Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal.

He was one of the highest earning athletes of his era, leaving a 25 million dollar estate when he died…

Wilt Chamberlain on a lounge chair

…and though he never married and had no children, claimed to have had 20,000 sexual relationships with women.

And it all started very modestly .Wilton Norman Chamberlain was born in Philadelphia, in a family of nine children. He didn't like basketball much as a kid, focusing on track and field. But since basketball was the street game in Philly, and was already 6'10 when he entered high school…

Wilt Chamberlain high school team photo

…he switched to basketball to take advantage of his size.

Wilt Chamberlain playing high school basketball

He never looked back and became well known for his shooting talent, shot blocking and pure physical strength. He was a gangly 250 pounds as an NBA rookie in 1959 and eventually weighed over 300 pounds when he played for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Other players were intimidated and, playing the center position, he's considered one of the greatest and most dominant players in NBA history.

Wilt played for the University of Kansas

Wilt Chamberlain playing for the University of Kansas

…and the Harlem Globetrotters…

Wilt Chamberlain playing for the Harlem Globetrotters

…before joining the Philadelphia Warriors in the NBA.

Wilt Chamberlain playing for the Philadelphia Warriors in the NBA

He followed the Warriors to San Francisco, then returned to Philadelphia with the 76ers and finally joined the Lakers.

Wilt Chamberlain playing for the Lakers

Wilt holds numerous NBA scoring records in scoring and rebounding. He's the only player to single handedly score 100 points in a game…

Wilt Chamberlain after he scored 100 points in a game

…and averaged 40 to 50 points per game in a single season.

He had a fierce on-court rivalry with Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics.

Wilt Chamberlain playing against Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics

Wilt also was on two NBA Championship teams, was league Rookie of the Year, won four MVP Awards and played on 13 All-Star teams.

When his basketball days were done, Wilt played in the international Volleyball Association.

Wilt Chamberlain playing volleyball

Even though it didn't last long, he's enshrined in the IVA Hall of Fame.

Chamberlain as also a successful businessman, wrote several books, and appeared in the movie "Conan the Destroyer".

Wilt Chamberlain in Conan the Destroyer

Like his co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wilt considered himself a Republican.

Chamberlain died at the age of 63 at his home in Bel Air, California…

Wilt Chamberlain's home

…of congestive heart failure.

newspaper report of Wilt Chamberlain's death

Wilt's a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, inducted in 1978.