Lakers Moments: Wilt Chamberlain is hard to miss
Big man on the court: Center Wilt Chamberlain goes up to tap in a basket for the L.A. Lakers against the New York Knicks at the Fabulous Forum on May 8, 1972.
The NBA’s first true superstar, Chamberlain was a dominant figure during his 16-year career. His size and power made him virtually unstoppable around the basket, allowing him to set records that probably will never be broken.
The 7-foot-1, 245-pound center was an imposing physical force, dominating the inside game to such a degree that he changed the way the game was played, forcing teams to develop more physical defensive tactics.
He is the only NBA player to score 100 points in a game or average more than 50 points per game for a season. He won seven scoring and 11 rebounding titles on his way to being selected the league's most valuable player four times.
Acquired by the Lakers in 1968, the star player worked alongside Elgin Baylor and Jerry West. During that time, he developed into a better team player, focusing more on his passing and defense. During the 1968-69 season, he led the Lakers in rebounding but for the first time in his career was not the team’s leading scorer.
Chamberlain continued to focus on his rebounding and defensive play, helping the Lakers win a record 33 consecutive games in the 1971-72 season. He then led them to their first title since 1954, putting up a stunning all-around performance against the Knicks despite suffering a broken bone in a hand to earn his only Finals MVP award.
Read more about Wilt Chamberlain and his five years in Los Angeles in All Things Lakers, the L.A. Times' interactive database of all things purple and gold.
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-- Austin Knoblauch and Sarah Ardalani
Photo credit: David Smith / Associated Press