The Big Dipper: Wilt Chamberlain | Part I

The numbers don't lie: Underdogs podcast host Peter Keating joins Shaun to reveal shocking new analytics that show Wilt was even more dominant than his 68 personal records suggest.

Photo: Chamberlain (#13) playing for LA Lakers in the 1969 NBA finals. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Episode Details

Wilt Chamberlain was the first superstar of the TV age. His hundred-point performance in Hershey, Pennsylvania, in March of 1962 landed him on The Ed Sullivan Show and turned him into a household name. But as he left his working-class roots in West Philadelphia behind, greatness was never enough. Wilt, a seven-foot-one record-setting machine, was taunted wherever he went and turned into a circus act. As he once told Elvis, “At least you can wear sunglasses when you go out.”

With an intellect as towering as his presence, Wilt would reach the pinnacle of politics, the heights of Hollywood, and the ragged edge of a playboy lifestyle that he maintained for his entire life. But even winning a championship in Philadelphia wouldn’t dispel a reputation for being a sullen, selfish superstar. 

Wilt Chamberlain 100-point.jpg
Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game [1], Fair use, Wikimedia Commons

Cropped from A page from the 1963 NCAA Annual National Collegiate Basketball Championship program | NCAA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In this episode, stats guru Peter Keating, co-host of the podcast Underdogs, helps unveil exclusive new analytics to show that Wilt was even more dominant than we realize. Meanwhile, interviews with his friends and teammates, show how Wilt’s insecurities on and off the court clouded a legacy that leaves him no more understood today than when he dominated the NBA.