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Wilt Chamberlain - Athletic Freak


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#1 OFFLINE   Bball_Jones

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:12 AM

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Wilt Chamberlain - Athletic Freak


I decided to shed some light about one of the greatest athletes ever, maybe the best.

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Breaking down his athletic abilities in categories:


- Strength and power

Wilt's bench press was reportedly almost up to 500 pounds, in high school he also did shot put where he was throwing 53 feet.
Chamberlain stood tall at 7'1'' without shoes, and was 275 lbs at the beginning of his career, reaching more than 300 lbs. He had a standing reach of 9'7'' and a wingspan of around 7'9".
Always known to be a really big strong guy, critics tried to put him down stating he could only dominate due to his size, he took that to heart and always tried to show and also improve his skill.
There are countless reports about his unbelievable strength by players and experts but they also say he tried to be a nice guy and never went all out because he didn't want to hurt anyone, you can see it clearly that most of the time he used to hold back when playing.

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- Stamina

In his career Wilt played 45.8 minutes per game in the regular season and 47.2 in the Playoffs, that alone proves he had all the stamina in the world. Plenty of times he went to games or practices without sleeping. This was a guy that never seemed tired and played with injuries in his final years.

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- Speed

Wilt ran track and field in high school where he ran the 440 yards in 49.0 seconds and the 880 yards in 1:58.3. He could easily outran most guards on the fastbreak and used his speed in many ways on the basketball court.

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- Agility and quickness

Despite being over 7 feet and over 260 lbs, Wilt had agility like no other, he had total control of his massive body and he displayed that countless times on the court. He was a center moving around like a guard and always demonstrated unbelievable quickness and cat-like reflexes.

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- Jumping ability

Reportedly, Wilt had a vertical leap higher than 40'', that's as high as players like Michael Jordan. In high school he high jumped 6'6'' and broad jumped 22 feet. This was a really big guy with tremendous hops which gave him just a great advantage playing basketball.

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Also keep in mind that Wilt had no access to modern privileges such as suplements, techniques, training methods, conditioning, equipment, medicine, other luxuries, and so on... Few players after him can say they were even close to Wilt's athleticism though, that makes it even more impressive.

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I'll end it with video proof about Wilt's ridiculous athleticism

> Here's Chamberlain with Russell talking about Wilt's self control when it came to his power and strength:

(Wilt says that maybe he should've been more agressive than he was, at 0:29)


> Young Wilt in his college days:

(completely cleaning the glass at 0:28; unbelievable speed on the fastbreak at 1:09; also want to point out the amazing over the head pass at 1:44; spectacular block and body control to get the ball at 1:56; not even fadeways can do the trick at 2:07; at 2:34 he blocks the shot to his teammate then outruns everyone on the fastbreak; out of this world block at 2:49; midrange jumper by a 6'8 PF gets denied at 3:07; at 3:15 he almost reaches the top of the backboard jumping with no preparation, see more in the vid below; on the weak side for the block at 3:32)


(more on that crazy block)


> Here's a short video with some highlights of his NBA career, remember in his Lakers days, he was in his mid 30's, pushing over 300 lbs, after surgeries with bad knees

(blocking the young Kareem's "unblockable" skyhook at 0:29; at 0:45 he gets his head at rim level to block Oscar Robertson; ridiculous block at 2:42 and replay after)


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Quotes from various players, coaches and experts about Wilt: http://wiltfan.tripod.com/quotes.html

Wilt's offensive highlights (you can see the skill on finger-rolls, passes, fadeaways and jumpers, you can see the athleticism, you can see the power and dunks, you can also notice him holding back on his strength sometimes):




Also if anyone wants sources on the various information I posted, I'll PM it.


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#2 OFFLINE   Clutch

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:20 AM

Great article! Wilt had a 45" verticle!?!? That's crazy for a guy his size!!
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#3 OFFLINE   Bball_Jones

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:24 AM

Great article! Wilt had a 45" verticle!?!? That's crazy for a guy his size!!


Reportedly 48''... You can see by photos and video footage that it was around those numbers, maybe not 48'' as many report though, that's why I didn't go that high.

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#4 OFFLINE   MJistheGOAT

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:43 AM

Man's a Beast! Got to be the Tallest NBA Player Ever! a Great & Legendary Center Too!
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#5 OFFLINE   Stefan

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:49 AM

Great job man, this was really interesting to read.



Man's a Beast! Got to be the Tallest NBA Player Ever! a Great & Legendary Center Too!


:confused:
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#6 OFFLINE   Manavski

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 11:43 AM

Wilt is beast ...
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#7 OFFLINE   Bball_Jones

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 12:04 PM

Man's a Beast! Got to be the Tallest NBA Player Ever! a Great & Legendary Center Too!


One of the biggest and strongest, one of the best athletes, he certainly was tall but not the tallest ever in the NBA of course.
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#8 OFFLINE   elmouse03

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 12:45 PM

Had all the tools physically, mentally, and talent wise to be a force in every regard in the NBA and was one at best. What he was missing was killer instinct which is why he was unable to take the game to the level he should have in the playoffs.
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#9 OFFLINE   The Future

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 01:11 PM

Arguably the most athletic player of all time. Arguably most physically gifted player ever. Most strongest player of all time, arguably as well (maybe more off the court with those crazy weights that he weighted). Among the greatest leapers of any time, with an outmatched standing jump. Chamberlain was really really quick as well. In other words, outstanding physical gifts and unlike some, the right IQ to use them all smartly and be a beast.
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#10 OFFLINE   TeoTheGreek13

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 06:00 AM

I didn't remember this article!
Great stuff man!


Whoever says that Wilt ain't the greatest basketball athlete ever, doesn't know what he's talking about.
Just imagine him nowadays with ESPN, all the media...
We'd know every little thing of his abilities.
Although, what we already know is more than enough to conclude that he was the GOAT basketball athlete.
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#11 OFFLINE   Bball_Jones

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 02:54 PM

I didn't remember thiss article!
Great stuff man!


Whoever says that Wilt ain't the greatest basketball athlete ever, doesn't know what he's talking about.
Just imagine him nowadays with ESPN, all the media...
We'd know every little thing of his abilities.
Although, what we already know is more than enough to conclude that he was the GOAT basketball athlete.


Thanks.

No doubt.

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#12 OFFLINE   32Dayz

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 05:02 PM

Great article and well written.

However I think Shaq was a significantly better athlete then Wilt was.

We had a discussion about this in a previous Top #25 thread.
It isn't that I don't appreciate Wilt as an athlete (I do) but I think others don't appreciate just how great of an athlete Shaq was.
He could run the floor faster then most guards especially in his youthful and early Prime days (he was absurdly fast) and he could jump out of the gym (36-38 inch vertical during his young and Prime years).

In terms of size Shaq entered the league at close to 300 with not a drop of bodyfat on his frame.
Wilt entered the league closer to 240-250 and bulked up to 270-280 during his prime years and eventually and probably surpassed 300 in his Final years as his career came to a close.

Shaq simply had a larger frame and carried much more muscle and as I said before his lower base and legs and core were much larger then Wilts who was a tiny bit top heavy in terms of his size and had a very large shoulder to hip ratio.

Because of that and because I think Shaq had more natural strength (akin to Charles Barkley) and better leveraging ability (akin to Chuck Hayes) he was just alot stronger and more power then Wilt ever was.

This isn't a diss to Wilt who was probably one of the strongest players ever but Shaq was "the strongest player ever".

So really after watching video of College, Young, Prime and Old Wilt and comparing him to Shaq in his Young and Prime years I have come to this opinion.

In terms of simple speed, running they were about equal although visually Shaq appears faster.

In terms of vertical leap and hops they were close to being equal although I give Wilt a small edge.
Wilt judging by the video I have appeared to have a 38-42 inch vertical during his Young/Prime years.
No he does not have a 48 inch vertical or anything close to that... that is simple exaggeration.
Shaq had a 36-38 inch vertical and could probably hit 40 in his younger years.
So again while Wilt had better hops the gap was small.

In terms of quickness and explosivness its Shaq easily.
Just watch Shaq when he explodes for some dunks or spins off a defender and countless other examples and he displays absolutely ridicuclous explosivness and high level speed for a man that large.

Wilt while quick for a man his size didn't display any sort of speed comparable to that and could not explode the way Shaq did.
This has nothing to do with style of play Wilt simply wasn't capable of doing it.

Again I have already explained why Shaq was much stronger and far more powerful.

So in the end Wilt has a small edge in Hops and Shaq had a large edge in Quickness/Explosiveness and Power/Strength.
In other areas its mostly a wash although I'd give Shaq a small but significant edge in coordination also.

It kind of bothers me that I am called biased for saying this but like I said I base these opinions off of actually watching the available footage and not based off of old hand written accounts from people who were overly impressed by an athlete far, far ahead of his time.
Please explain how that is biased or how I am uninformed?

Again I think it just comes down to people having the image of older Shaq stuck in their head and cannot appreciate what a truly once in a history type of athlete young/prime Shaq was.

He was like a much bigger, stronger and more explosive version of Wilt with better coordination.

The fact that I consider him not that far below Shaq who is considered by many to be the greatest athlete to ever play the game is certainly not an insult.
______________________________________________________________________________

Now... back to the article itself.

It is a joy to watch Chamberlains athleticism and he was one of the greatest athletes to ever play in the NBA.

Wilt had amazing hops and leaping ability.
Wilt had great speed and could run the floor very well.
Wilt had GOAT level stamina.
Wilt was one of the strongest players ever.

He was way farther ahead of his time athletically then any other player has ever been!

Would have loved to see Wilt play in our generation or see more footage of him from back in the day.

-BTW : I don't want to distract from your actual article Jones so if you want me to remove the Shaq VS Wilt part and we can discuss it elsewhere just PM me and I will do so.
:cheers:
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#13 ONLINE   Antetokounmpo

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 03:07 PM

close range fade away jump shots all day ... pretty unstoppable .. he'd give you contact and then fade and with the 7' 8" wingspan you cannot do anything especially when you factor in the vertical


#14 OFFLINE   Djoker

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 03:17 PM

Yea... early in his career he relied a lot on the fadeaway bank shot. Funny how that and the free throw shooting both went down the drain as his career progressed. He went from shooting 60% from the line to shooting in the high 30's...

#15 OFFLINE   Bball_Jones

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 03:36 PM



Just to add on, Arnold went recentely on the B.S. Report with Bill Simmons and talked about how amazed he was at Wilt's strength.

Remember Arnold looked like this when he was younger

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#16 OFFLINE   TeoTheGreek13

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 10:27 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzIu7o5NH1k

Just to add on, Arnold went recentely on the B.S. Report with Bill Simmons and talked about how amazed he was at Wilt's strength.

Remember Arnold looked like this when he was younger

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Thanks for this man!
I enjoyed it!

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#17 OFFLINE   CavaliersFTW

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 07:48 AM

Great article and well written.

However I think Shaq was a significantly better athlete then Wilt was.

We had a discussion about this in a previous Top #25 thread.
It isn't that I don't appreciate Wilt as an athlete (I do) but I think others don't appreciate just how great of an athlete Shaq was.
He could run the floor faster then most guards especially in his youthful and early Prime days (he was absurdly fast) and he could jump out of the gym (36-38 inch vertical during his young and Prime years).

In terms of size Shaq entered the league at close to 300 with not a drop of bodyfat on his frame.
Wilt entered the league closer to 240-250 and bulked up to 270-280 during his prime years and eventually and probably surpassed 300 in his Final years as his career came to a close.

Shaq simply had a larger frame and carried much more muscle and as I said before his lower base and legs and core were much larger then Wilts who was a tiny bit top heavy in terms of his size and had a very large shoulder to hip ratio.

Because of that and because I think Shaq had more natural strength (akin to Charles Barkley) and better leveraging ability (akin to Chuck Hayes) he was just alot stronger and more power then Wilt ever was.

This isn't a diss to Wilt who was probably one of the strongest players ever but Shaq was "the strongest player ever".

So really after watching video of College, Young, Prime and Old Wilt and comparing him to Shaq in his Young and Prime years I have come to this opinion.

In terms of simple speed, running they were about equal although visually Shaq appears faster.

In terms of vertical leap and hops they were close to being equal although I give Wilt a small edge.
Wilt judging by the video I have appeared to have a 38-42 inch vertical during his Young/Prime years.
No he does not have a 48 inch vertical or anything close to that... that is simple exaggeration.
Shaq had a 36-38 inch vertical and could probably hit 40 in his younger years.
So again while Wilt had better hops the gap was small.

In terms of quickness and explosivness its Shaq easily.
Just watch Shaq when he explodes for some dunks or spins off a defender and countless other examples and he displays absolutely ridicuclous explosivness and high level speed for a man that large.

Wilt while quick for a man his size didn't display any sort of speed comparable to that and could not explode the way Shaq did.
This has nothing to do with style of play Wilt simply wasn't capable of doing it.

Again I have already explained why Shaq was much stronger and far more powerful.

So in the end Wilt has a small edge in Hops and Shaq had a large edge in Quickness/Explosiveness and Power/Strength.
In other areas its mostly a wash although I'd give Shaq a small but significant edge in coordination also.

It kind of bothers me that I am called biased for saying this but like I said I base these opinions off of actually watching the available footage and not based off of old hand written accounts from people who were overly impressed by an athlete far, far ahead of his time.
Please explain how that is biased or how I am uninformed?

Again I think it just comes down to people having the image of older Shaq stuck in their head and cannot appreciate what a truly once in a history type of athlete young/prime Shaq was.

He was like a much bigger, stronger and more explosive version of Wilt with better coordination.

The fact that I consider him not that far below Shaq who is considered by many to be the greatest athlete to ever play the game is certainly not an insult.
______________________________________________________________________________

Now... back to the article itself.

It is a joy to watch Chamberlains athleticism and he was one of the greatest athletes to ever play in the NBA.

Wilt had amazing hops and leaping ability.
Wilt had great speed and could run the floor very well.
Wilt had GOAT level stamina.
Wilt was one of the strongest players ever.

He was way farther ahead of his time athletically then any other player has ever been!

Would have loved to see Wilt play in our generation or see more footage of him from back in the day.

-BTW : I don't want to distract from your actual article Jones so if you want me to remove the Shaq VS Wilt part and we can discuss it elsewhere just PM me and I will do so.
:cheers:


Just a simple correction and some food for thought:

Wilt weighed no less than 258lbs as a rookie - he was not 240-250, he was around 240 in college and already exceeded 250 a globetrotter, he was 265 his 3rd season 320 (the only time Wilt could ever be considered overweight) entering his 5th season (quickly trimming down to 290) and then built back up to over 300 in his final seasons as an LA Laker with varying reports of 300-310lbs. He weighed 327lbs when he strength trained with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Shaq of course was definitely a heavier rookie than Wilt but Wilt wasn't as light as his "skinny" rookie body appeared. Shaq was a 303lb rookie and this is about the only time he wasn't covered in some sort of layer of extra body fat. He was 325 when he was acquired by LA (already looking a bit pudgier than his rookie season) and ballooned as high as 368 one season after an injury. The 2nd half of his career was played at ~350lbs vs Wilt's ~300-310, but the difference between the two in mass really appears to be mostly just an issue of who carried more body fat.

Shaq did not have a "larger" frame (overall) - unless your strictly speaking lower body which I can agree with - his legs appeared thicker. Overall though he was slightly shorter w/o shoes (7-0.88 vs 7-1.06) had a shorter standing reach by about two inches (w/o shoes their standing reach is ~-9-4 for Shaq and 9-6 for Wilt), armspan of Shaq is 7-7 to Wilt's 7-8, and even Wilt's hands were slightly larger overall (Shaq's 11" long by 9" spread vs Wilt's 9.5" long by 11.5" spread).

Wilt's 40 yard dash was timed at a weight of 290lbs to be 4.6
Shaq's 40 yard dash at a weight of 350lbs was timed at 5.8

These are the only direct measurements to compare between the two, everything else is speculative and in the eye of the beholder.
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#18 OFFLINE   32Dayz

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 06:37 PM

Sorry CavsFTW

I really do enjoy your videos and some information you share on older players but I cannot take you seriously at all in this particular debate.
Not after this.
http://insidehoops.c...ad.php?t=256389

I know you were probably joking around but still... :no:

Wilt's athletic greatness stands on its own.
He is right at the top of the totem pole.
You don't have to put down other players to make him look better.

Shaq did not have more body-fat then Wilt from 93-00 and he didn't in 01 / 02 either other the maybe a few extra off-season pounds which he shed long before the playoffs started.

Shaq as a rookie was 300lbs of pure muscle.

Wilt throughout the early / mid 60's was in the 250-280 range but never beyond that.
As he joined the Lakers he began to bulk up further and in the 70's I could probably believe he approached or exceeded 300lbs.

Shaq definitely had a much bigger and more balanced frame.
-Shaq had a much larger and more solid base/core and much bigger / thicker muscled legs.

In terms of upper body they probably weren't too far apart.
Wilt was "top heavy" and had wide shoulders and big arms.

However I do think Shaq had bigger arms and a bigger "barrel chest" but like I said it they probably aren't too far apart in terms of upper body size/strength.

Calling Shaq "pudgy" when he joined the Lakers is just pure ignorance and imo trolling.
Go watch some Youtube video of 98 Shaq.
He was as ripped as a human being can possibly get and didn't have an ounce of bodyfat on his frame.

Shaq from 98-00 was 315-325 of "Pure Muscle" it wasn't until 01/02 that he started being slightly less diligent with his training and it took an 03 injury for him to actually appear overweight for the first time.

By 04 he was back in great shape albeit clearly not in the same condition he was prior to 03.
He maintained similar conditioning until 06 when he won his 4th title.

#19 OFFLINE   CavaliersFTW

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 08:07 PM

Sorry CavsFTW

I really do enjoy your videos and some information you share on older players but I cannot take you seriously at all in this particular debate.
Not after this.
http://insidehoops.c...ad.php?t=256389

I know you were probably joking around but still... :no:

Wilt's athletic greatness stands on its own.
He is right at the top of the totem pole.
You don't have to put down other players to make him look better.

Shaq did not have more body-fat then Wilt from 93-00 and he didn't in 01 / 02 either other the maybe a few extra off-season pounds which he shed long before the playoffs started.

Shaq as a rookie was 300lbs of pure muscle.

Wilt throughout the early / mid 60's was in the 250-280 range but never beyond that.
As he joined the Lakers he began to bulk up further and in the 70's I could probably believe he approached or exceeded 300lbs.

Shaq definitely had a much bigger and more balanced frame.
-Shaq had a much larger and more solid base/core and much bigger / thicker muscled legs.

In terms of upper body they probably weren't too far apart.
Wilt was "top heavy" and had wide shoulders and big arms.

However I do think Shaq had bigger arms and a bigger "barrel chest" but like I said it they probably aren't too far apart in terms of upper body size/strength.

Calling Shaq "pudgy" when he joined the Lakers is just pure ignorance and imo trolling.
Go watch some Youtube video of 98 Shaq.
He was as ripped as a human being can possibly get and didn't have an ounce of bodyfat on his frame.

Shaq from 98-00 was 315-325 of "Pure Muscle" it wasn't until 01/02 that he started being slightly less diligent with his training and it took an 03 injury for him to actually appear overweight for the first time.

By 04 he was back in great shape albeit clearly not in the same condition he was prior to 03.
He maintained similar conditioning until 06 when he won his 4th title.


Sarcastic posts or presentations I make on ISH have no bearing on the validity of my research. You can agree to disagree with me all you want - my research of testimony and measurement numbers speak for themselves, they are not a joke. If your opinion is Shaq is the better specimen, great.

#20 OFFLINE   Mr. Smiley

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 03:35 AM

And that's why Wilt is my top 1 player all-time in the NBA..




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