Wilt Chamberlain was a standout player at Overbrook High School in Philadelphia. He played on the high school’s varsity team for three years, scoring more than 2,200 points in total.
Standing at 6’11” tall at the time, Chamberlain physically dominated other players. He eventually reached his full height of a staggering 7’1″ tall. Many of his nicknames were derived from his perfect stature. He hated being called “Wilt the Stilt,” or “the Stilt,” which came from a local reporter covering high school athletics. But Chamberlain didn’t mind “The Big Dipper,” or “Dipper,” a nickname given to him by friends because he had to duck his head when passing through a doorframe.
Here is some rare footage from his high school years.
Wilt broke several high school records in track and was heavily recruited but in the end, the love for basketball was too strong. Here’s another clip of Wilt during his time at Overbrook High School.
When it came time for college, Chamberlain was high in demand by many top college basketball teams. Ultimately he selected the University of Kansas, making his college basketball debut in 1956 with the Jayhawks, and leading the team to the NCAA finals in 1957. Kansas was defeated by North Carolina, but Wilt was named “Most Outstanding Player” of the tournament. Continuing to excel, he made the All-America and All-Conference team the following season.
After leaving college in 1958, Wilt had to wait a year before going pro due to NBA rules. Few people know that he chose to spend the next season performing with the Harlem Globetrotters before landing a spot with the Philadelphia Warriors.
In 1959, Wilt played his first professional game in New York City against the Knicks, scoring 43 points. His impressive debut season netted him several prestigious honors, including the NBA Rookie of the Year and NBA Most Valuable Player awards.
Wilt Chamberlain is, without a doubt, one of the greatest players that the NBA will ever see. He’s a literal and figurative giant in the world of basketball, and even though his stats are legendary, there are definitely some things you still didn’t know about Wilt Chamberlain. More so than most celebrities, he seems to have a multi-faceted personality and a collection of interests that seem at odds with one another.