Does Wilt Chamberlain's rings and NBA Finals record do injustice to him as a player?

NBA Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain [image courtesy of Walter Iooss Jr./Sports Illustrated via Getty Images]
Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain [image courtesy of Walter Iooss Jr./Sports Illustrated via Getty Images]

Wilt Chamberlain is widely regarded as one of the 10 greatest players to ever play basketball. His list of records and accomplishments seems almost otherworldly. Despite his individual success, Chamberlain went just 2-for-4 in six NBA Finals appearances.

Wilt Chamberlain's individual success

Nobody has dominated the game of basketball from an individual aspect in the manner that he did. Wilt averaged 30.1 points per game, second all-time to Michael Jordan by .05 points per game, and 22.9 rebounds per game, the most in NBA history. If blocks had been counted during his playing career, it is a safe bet to assume that he would rank near or at the top of that list as well.

Chamberlain averaged an NBA-record 50.4 ppg in the 1961-1962 season. He scored 4,029 points that season, including 100 in a game, both of which are also records. Wilt's first four seasons are the top four points per game marks in NBA history.

Furthermore, Wilt Chamberlain holds the record for most 40-, 50- and 60-point games in a season and in a career. He also needed the least games to reach 10,000, 15,000, 20,000, 25,000 and 30,000 points.

Chamberlain also holds the record for most career rebounds and most career rebounds per game, as well as the single-season mark in each category. His 55-rebound game in 1960 remains a record that is as untouchable as his 100-point game. Additionally, he holds the record for most career double-doubles and most consecutive double-doubles.

Wilt also remains the only player to lead the league in points and rebounds in the same season, which he did six times. He is also the only player to lead the league in rebounds and assists in the same season. He remains the only player to lead the league in points, rebounds and assists in any season. Finally, he is the only player to ever have a 40-40 game, which he did eight times, most notably when he scored 78 points and grabbed 43 rebounds.

Check out Wilt Chamberlain's highlights below:


Wilt Chamberlain's playoff accomplishments

Wilt Chamberlain's scoring took a hit in the postseason where he averaged just 22.5 ppg. It is important to note, however, that half of his 160 career postseason games came with the LA Lakers, where he was not the focal point of the offense.

After averaging 36.0 ppg through his first nine seasons, Chamberlain averaged just 17.7 ppg in five seasons with the Lakers. In the postseason, those numbers dipped to 29.3 ppg in eight postseason runs before joining the Lakers, and 15.8 ppg in five postseason runs in Los Angeles.

Chamberlain made six trips to the NBA Finals, winning two and losing four. Four of his finals appearances came with the Lakers, while he made one appearance each with the San Francisco Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers. In six appearances, he averaged 18.6 ppg. While his scoring was down, Chamberlain averaged 24.6 rpg in the finals and 24.5 rpg over 160 postseason games.

While Wilt Chamberlain was only able to win two rings, it seems that most fans hold his era against him more than his lack of NBA Finals success. Bill Russell, who won an NBA-record 11 rings, is often underrated despite his winning ways. The one knock, however unfair it may be, that is often mentioned against both players is the era that they played in.

Check out more of Wilt Chamberlain's highlights below:


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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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