Greatest Philadelphia Native Basketball Player PDF Print E-mail
The Philadelphia metropolitan area is blessed with a rich basketball tradition at the collegiate level. They have also enjoyed strong seasons with their professional franchise, the Philadelphia 76ers. In many regions it would be a near impossible task to nominate the best player from that region of all-time, but in Philadelphia, one player stands alone. What the 76ers needed is a great draft, just like the Eagles had from their NFL Picks that can change the Doc's NFL odds.

Wilt Chamberlain attended Overbrook High School and led the Panthers to a 56-3 record in his three seasons and two City Championships. In Philadelphia, winning the City Championship was akin to winning the State Championship. For reasons, other than selfish awards, the PIAA kept any school from within the Philadelphia City Limits from playing in their State Championships in all sports. So, the city rivalries in Philadelphia are highly competitive and fierce and lead to the development of dozens of strong D-1 and professional basketball players.

Kobe Bryant is a Lower Merino graduate, which is a suburb very close to center city Philadelphia to name just one of the greats.

A local Philadelphia nick-named him Wilt-the Stilt because of his 7-1 stature, but he always preferred the Big Dipper because he had to ‘dip’ under every doorway he went through. He was 6-10 in his first basketball season and had a tremendous size advantage over his opponents even when triple teamed. Ironically, before attending Overbrook he though basketball was a game for sissies and chose track and field where he accomplished amazing results. Had it not been that Basketball was King in Philadelphia, Chamberlain may have never played the game.

He set all sorts of high school records; averaging 37.1 points per game and during one stretch scored 74, 78, and 90 points in three straight games. He is most famous perhaps for his 100 point night at the Hershey Arena, in Hershey, PA, where he set the all-time professional record of 100 points in a game.

He attended Kansas University where he again was the dominant player, but it was his first year in professional basketball that is by far the most impressive. First though, how he was acquired is quite interesting. In the early days of professional basketball, teams had territorial NCAA Basketball Picks, meaning that they could select a player that went to college in their territory and no team could draft that player if there was an NBA team in that area.

The Warriors owner argued successfully that since Chamberlain hailed from Philadelphia and there was no team in Kansas, that he had the rights to him. It marked the first player drafted and signed as a ‘territorial player’ based on his high school roots, and for good reason.

In that first year playing for the Philadelphia Warriors, he broke the single season scoring record in just 56 games in a 72 game season. He averaged 37.2 points per game and 27 rebounds per game earning him season MVP and Rookie of the Year honors. He was paid $30,000 for his first season with the Warriors.

He went on to have an incredible career leading the NBA in scoring seven times, field goal percentage nine times, minutes played eight times, rebounding eleven times, and assists once. Arguably, no one will ever challenge his career marks for scoring, shooting percentage and rebounding. Perhaps the most

remarkable is that he NEVER fouled out of one game.

Yet, his life after basketball was nearly as amazing, making great investments with his ‘limited’ salaries, staring in Conan the Barbarian and several other movies. He self-sponsored elite level youth softball, basketball, and track and field teams. There is so much more to write about a true legend in all of basketball, whose life started in a rough section of Philadelphia, PA.