Like many basketball connoisseurs born long after Wilt Chamberlain's playing career ended, I'm too young to properly evaluate how high the Big Dipper belongs on a list of the sport's greatest players.
Judging from the video that surfaced Thursday on YouTube, however, it's clear he'd have been dominant in any era.
The 20 minutes of Chamberlain highlights are from the final five games of his sophomore season at Kansas in 1957. In the first game, Chamberlain puts up 40 points, 14 rebounds and 12 blocks to propel the Jayhawks to a 73-65 victory over Colorado in the Big 7 title game. The next four are from Kansas' ensuing NCAA tournament run, which ended with a one-point triple-overtime loss to North Carolina in the national title game despite 23 points and 14 rebounds from Chamberlain.
In four NCAA tournament games that season, Chamberlain fought off constant double and triple teams to average 30.3 points and 15.5 rebounds, showcasing soft hands, deft passing ability and superior size, strength and speed in the process. He was so good that he earned NCAA tournament MVP honors even though the Jayhawks finished as runner-ups to the Tar Heels.
Alas, Chamberlain never had the chance to avenge that loss and bring a national title to Kansas.
The Jayhawks finished second to Kansas State in their conference the next season and failed to make the NCAA tournament. The following spring, Chamberlain turned pro and joined the Harlem Globetrotters for one season before embarking on a highly successful 14-year NBA career.
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- Wilt Chamberlain