Officially, and somewhat cruelly, according to the NBA’s record-keeping Wilt Chamberlain never registered a block in his NBA career. The NBA didn’t begin to record blocks as an official stat until the 1973-74 season, a year that saw Chamberlain sometimes deciding to show up for work as head coach of the ABA’s San Diego Conquistadors, after courts ruled the big man would have to sit out the entire season after Wilt attempted to jump from league to league as a player. After a frustrating season, mostly coached by Stan Albeck in Chamberlain’s absence, Wilt decided to retire from the game.
The NBA, now block-conscious, moved on. Elmore Smith set the record for most blocks in a game in that first season with 17. Hakeem Olajuwon went on to record the all-time mark in blocks with 3830. Wilt and contemporary Bill Russell, by then a color commentator with ABC, were left with no such numbers next to their legendary names.
All we have left is the video, that grainy video from a league that was barely on TV during Wilt’s Hall of Fame career, of Wilt Chamberlain doing amazing things on the defensive end of the court. Watch: