Skip to main content

How Wilt's unreal athleticism forced the NCAA to change rules

wilt-chamberlain-min

There has only been a handful of basketball players in history who were so good or had particular skills that rules needed to be changed to stop them because they manipulated a specific aspect of the game. Guys like Kareem, Shaq, Charles, and Mikan all impacted the game that way, but there was no one quite like Wilt Chamberlain.

Wilt's name is immortal in the NBA world, as he is widely regarded as the most dominant player of all time to this day. We had numerous great centers throughout NBA history, but that didn't matter as he could go up against any matchup. The brute strength at 7'1'' made him impossible to handle in the post, but what really made him unique was the ability to jump out of the gym and run like a track athlete.

Physically Wilt was the perfect embodiment of an athlete without any weakness. Some players from that era get overlooked regarding their athletic abilities, as guys like Wilt and Bill Russell were some of the most athletic freaks the league has ever seen. The fact you can see how dominant and athletic they were from these old-school clips speaks volumes.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

When Wilt was coming up in the basketball world during the 1950s, the leagues around North America were still finding their spot in the competitive sports world. The game was still shaping up and introducing rules to achieve balance and deny unfair advantages. But a man of Wilt's stature, especially in that era, was a cheat code. So to stop Wilt's dominance, rules started to change already during his college career.

During his two seasons with the Kansas Jayhawks, Wilt already showed what he is made of, dominating and averaging 30 points per game in his second season. A rare and impressive feat got overshadowed by the fact that the NCAA had to adopt rules to stop him. His only weakness was the "charity stripe" shot, as Wilt famously missed 5805 free throws during his NBA career. But Wilt almost even had a solution for that problem.

Apparently, Wilt was so athletic in his college days that he was able to dunk from the free-throw line without a running start. Something we have never seen to this day in baseball history. So instead of shooting a free throw, Wilt could leap and simply lay or dunk the ball in. If everything else fails, Wilt could just throw it off the backboard, step in and dunk it without anybody being able to challenge him. 

The NCAA and the NBA would hear about it and take notice, introducing a few rules regarding free throws. Both feet would have to be planted behind the line when shooting a free throw and stay there until the ball hits the rim. That way, Wilt couldn't leap towards the hoop or throw it to himself for the dunk, saving his opponents from being helpless. Even though it would be fun to see, you have to admit it would be too unfair, as those rules are still active to this day, even though it's hard to imagine a player pulling this off today.

Willy Hernangomez says Zion Williamson is on a mission this season

Willy Hernangomez offers a frightening take on Zion Williamson ahead of this season -“He wants to destroy everybody”

Hernangomez said Williamson "wants to destroy everybody" in his return to the court after missing the entire 2021-22 season

James Harden said that his explosiveness is getting there after it was noticeably absent during his stint with the Sixers last season

James Harden and his quest to regain his explosiveness for the Philadelphia 76ers: "It's getting there"

Harden clearly wasn't himself during his first few months with the 76ers, but the good news is that he believes his explosiveness is getting back to what it used to be

Dirk Nowitzki at the 1998 Nike Hoop Summit

"Between practices I had to get tutoring in a separate room" - Dirk Nowitzki used to bring a tutor with him while traveling with Germany's junior national team

Dirk Nowitzki revealed that he had to bring a private tutor with him during his days with Germany's junior national team as he had to play and study at the same time.

Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson

"Are you willing to come back and be a coachable player?"-How Phil Jackson talked to Kobe Bryant before they reunited in 2006

The time Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson spent apart from each other made them realize that they needed each other to accomplish their goals.

Denver Nuggets mascot Rocky

Denver Nuggets mascot Rocky outearns several NBA players

Denver Nuggets mascot Rocky is closer to making a million each year than some NBA players on minimum contracts.

ben-wallace-darvin-ham-min

“I know he’s a great locker room guy!”- Ben Wallace believes Darvin Ham will do great things with the Lakers

Darvin Ham and Ben Wallace won a title together and their bond will forever remain tight.