James Harden, the bearded Houston Rockets MVP guard, tied Wilt Chamberlain’s record of 20 consecutive games with 30 points or more which hadn’t been broken or challenged in over 50 years.
Oklahoma Thunder MVP, Russell Westbrook, surpassed Wilt Chamberlain’s record for most consecutive triple-doubles by an NBA player which had stood since 1968. Westbrook became the second player in league history to have 20 or more points, rebounds and assists in one game, finishing with 20 points, 20 rebounds and 21 assists. Wilt Chamberlain was the only other player to accomplish this feat.
Since the passing of Cal Ramsey last Monday morning here in New York City, an old photo of Ramsey, Oscar Robertson, Chamberlain and an unknown young woman that’s framed and displayed in Ramsey’s home has surfaced on the internet.
The challenge to his records keep his memory alive, sparking questions like, “Are Harden or Westbrook as dominant as Wilt?”
Wilt is the common denominator here interspersed into pop culture.
Born Aug. 21, 1936, Chamberlain passed away Oct. 12, 1999, almost 20 years ago; two months after his 63rd birthday. He died from congestive heart failure in Bel Air, a ritzy neighborhood on the west side of Los Angeles, California made more famous by Will Smith’s “Fresh Prince” television show. Smith coincidentally went to the same high school as Chamberlain: Overbook in west Philadelphia.
Chamberlain’s NBA records and lore are too numerous for a short story, but besides playing basketball with Ramsey in the Rucker and establishing roots here in Harlem, Chamberlain once owned Small’s Paradise, the historically famous Harlem nightclub where the Thurgood Marshall Academy and IHOP now stand on 135th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard.
Chamberlain also played for the Los Angeles Lakers teams that lost to the New York Knicks in the NBA championship in the 1969-70 season and the 1972-73 season.
He received some backlash from the #MeToo experience of his time when in his book, “A View From Above” (1991), he estimated that he had sex with about 20,000 women.
Chamberlain, who was 7-foot-1, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was a two-time NBA champion, in both 1967 and 1972. He attended the University of Kansas for two years before being drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors in 1959.
Chamberlain was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1960, and the All-Star Game MVP in ‘62, the Finals MVP in ‘72, and a four-time NBA Most Valuable Player in the ‘60s. He played on 13 all-star teams. Chamberlain dominated in scoring and rebounding winning the scoring title 7 times and the rebounding title 11. In 1968, he won the title for most assists.
Chamberlain’s No. 13 is retired by the Golden State Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers, the Los Angeles Lakers and his alma mater, the Kansas Jayhawks.