It’s up for debate who’s the best center of all time. Some would say, Hakeem, some say, Bill Russell, others Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. But there’s one name that oftentimes slips through the cracks of people’s minds when talking about the greatest center of all time, Wilt Chamberlain.
Everyone knows that Wilt Chamberlain is one of the best players of all time, but somehow, not enough credit is given to him.
I’m not saying Chamberlain is underrated, people understand that he’s an all-time great, they just don’t understand why.
Wilt played in an era where steals and blocks, and games started weren’t even a recorded stat. With that, people can make the argument that he played with some of the weakest competition, but he still played against greats like Bill Russell, Bob Pettit, Nate Thurmond, etc.
Even if you think Wilt played significantly worse competition, this man still dominated, and there’s no denying it. Some of the stats and records Wilt broke are unreal. Everyone knows him for his 100 point game but he was so much more than that.
His scoring was so effortless.
He towered over most defenders and overpowered all of them. Standing at 7’1, he averaged almost 23 rebounds and over 30 points a game for his entire 14-year career.
Star players during this time period like Russell and Thurmond don’t come close to his dominance. The way Wilt consistently dominated over such a long stretch of time is unmatched.
The only other consistent dominance we see is from GOATs like Jordan and LeBron. You can make the argument that he didn’t have the skillset as other centers like David Robinson or Hakeem Olajuwon, but Wilt put up numbers like none other.
Wilt averaged a whopping 50 points a game in one season while playing over 48 minutes a game, and for many other seasons, averaged over 35.
He faced much criticism for scoring too much, then he went out and led the league in assists. He did all that because he could. It doesn’t even seem real how Wilt could do anything he wanted, whenever he wanted. And all his scoring and offensive came without a three-point line.
Chamberlain also couldn’t buy a free throw made if he wanted to.
The NBA even had to change the rules against him. They widened the lane, enacted offensive goaltending, and called free throw shooter lane violations all because of him.
Chamberlain used to throw the ball off the backboard, catch it, then dunk it immediately. It was so easy for him to dominate. No one could stop him, so the NBA had to put rules into place to make it harder for him. And he still wrecked everyone.
Everyone has their own opinion on Wilt Chamberlain, saying the competition was too easy, it was all empty stats, but it only looked that way because of how EASILY he dominated everyone else.
With that said, Wilt Chamberlain in my opinion is both the best and most overlooked center of all time.
Photo Credit: Paul Vathis / AP Photo