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Wilt Chamberlain – 1972-’73 Topps #80

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Image  Wilton Norman “Wilt” Chamberlain (August 21, 1936 – October 12, 1999) was an American professional NBA basketball player for the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers; he also played for the Harlem Globetrotters prior to playing in the NBA. The 7 foot 1 inch Chamberlain weighed 250 pounds as a rookie before bulking up to 275 and eventually to over 300 pounds with the Lakers. He played the center position and is considered by his contemporaries as one of the greatest and most dominant players in NBA history.
Chamberlain holds numerous official NBA all-time records, setting records in many scoring, rebounding and durability categories. He is the only player in NBA history to score 100 points in a single NBA game or average more than 40 and 50 points in a season. He also won seven scoring, nine field goal percentage, and eleven rebounding titles, and once even led the league in assists. Although he suffered a long string of professional losses, Chamberlain had a successful career, winning two NBA championships, earning four regular-season Most Valuable Player awards, the Rookie of the Year award, one NBA Finals MVP award, and being selected to 13 All-Star Games and ten All-NBA First and Second teams. Chamberlain was subsequently enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978, elected into the NBA’s 35th Anniversary Team of 1980, and chosen as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History of 1996
After his basketball career ended, Chamberlain played volleyball in the short-lived International Volleyball Association, was president of this organization, and is enshrined in the IVA Hall of Fame for his contributions. Chamberlain also was a successful businessman, authored several books, and appeared in the movie Conan the Destroyer. He was a lifelong bachelor, and became notorious for his claim to having had sex with over 20,000 women.
Even far beyond his playing days, Chamberlain was a very fit person. In his mid-forties, he was able to humble rookie Magic Johnson in practice, and even in the 1980s, he flirted with making a comeback in the NBA. In the 1980–81 NBA season, coach Larry ImageBrown recalled that the 45-year-old Chamberlain had received an offer from the Cleveland Cavaliers. When Chamberlain was 50, the New Jersey Nets had the same idea, and Chamberlain declined again. However, he would continue to epitomize physical fitness for years to come, including participating in several marathons. In 1992, Chamberlain was briefly hospitalized for an irregular heartbeat. According to those close to him, he eventually began taking medication for his heart troubles. On October 12, 1999, rescuers found him dead upon being summoned to his Bel Air, California, home. His agent reported, after speaking with Chamberlain’s cardiologist, that Chamberlain died of congestive heart failure, his health having deteriorated rapidly during the month preceding his death.

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