Wilt Chamberlain, the giant who forced the NBA to change its rules | NBA

If he only won two NBA titles (in 1967 and 1972), the fault of the Celtics of Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain remains one of the greatest players in history for a slew of records which have great chances never to be beaten. We obviously think of his 100-point match, but also his 50.4 points average over a season, or his 48.5 minutes average playing time. Yes, thanks to extra time, Chamberlain had played more than the duration normal of an NBA game.

An exceptional athlete, gifted at the high jump and the lap, Chamberlain was such a physical prodigy that the NBA had been forced to change its rules to limit its dominance over the game.

A wider racket, no offensive goaltending

The combination of size, power and speed of the pivot was thus almost insoluble for defenders, especially since the racquet was smaller at the time.

As in the NCAA now, it was only 3.66 meters wide at the time. This therefore allowed Wilt Chamberlain to take the low post position and then use his trigger and gigantic arms to slide the ball into the circle, either with the help of a dunk or a « finger roll » while standing. contorting.

To limit the impact of « The Stilt », the NBA therefore decided to modify the racket, thus widening it to 4.88 meters. Wilt Chamberlain then had to start further from the circle, enough to help the defenders limit his effectiveness.

Athletic phenomenon, and endowed with a trigger that was announced to be more than 1.20m (while he was 2.16m tall and had a wingspan of 2.34m), the pivot also forced the league to adopt offensive “goaltending”, that is, an attacker no longer has the right to touch the ball when it is still in the cylinder of the circle.

It is also for him that the NBA decided to prevent the throw-in that would go over the basket. Wilt Chamberlain was so powerful and his trigger so impressive, even without momentum, that his teammates only had to throw the ball over the basket while waiting for him to retrieve it or push it into the circle.

From long jump to free throws

Bad thrower of throws, the pivot (51.1% of success in career) had also tried to take advantage of the rules of the time to improve his percentage. During his debut in the NBA, it was thus possible to shoot a throw while advancing towards the circle. By taking a momentum or two from the head of the racket, some say he could dunk the ball into the circle. He could in any case release the ball from a very short distance from the basket.

The league therefore decided to prohibit the thrower from shooting while advancing, forcing him to stay behind the line.

While the NBA has always changed its rules, no player has forced it to adapt as much as Wilt Chamberlain. The proof of his individual domination, he who is one of the greatest athletes in the history of sport in general.

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