Video: Wilt Chamberlain skies to swat shots in vintage clips
By Rob Mahoney
Wilt Chamberlain’s legacy is and has always been predicated on excess — of size, of scoring, of personality, of womanizing. But Wilt’s general abundance also applied to his natural athleticism, despite the fact that he’s rarely appreciated for his physical gifts beyond his height.
Chamberlain was recruited and ultimately competed in track and field at the collegiate level, and he was a three-time conference champion in the high jump while at Kansas. But the characterization of the dominant big men of yore hardly includes mention of their leaping ability, and the lack of high-quality footage from the era hardly helps in alleging Chamberlain’s (or Bill Russell’s) athletic prowess.
If you’re still under the impression that Chamberlain was more a plodding big man taking advantage of his size than a dominant athlete, then just watch the above video, which makes two things abundantly clear:
1. The guy could jump — perhaps best evidenced by the sequence at the 30-second mark where Chamberlain recovers from the weak side to swat a shot at roughly the top of the backboard square.
2. Yesterday’s NBA featured a rather generous interpretation of the goaltending rule.