This Day in Black History: Wilt Chamberlain becomes first NBA player to score 30,000 points

HOUSTON – Basketball Player Wilton Norman Chamberlain was born on Aug. 21, 1936 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

At an early age, Chamberlain was very athletic —a track and field athlete. Chamberlain attended Overbrook High School and pursued basketball. In 1953, Chamberlain scored more than 31 points a game every season.

In 1955, Chamberlain attended University of Kansas and joined the Kansas Jayhawks basketball team.  A year later, Chamberlain was placed on the varsity team and scored more than 50 points a game.

In 1958, Chamberlain joined the Harlem Globetrotters — a basketball team that combines athleticism, theater and comedy in their game play. In 1959, Chamberlain made his debut as a NBA player with the Philadelphia Warriors — averaging about 37 points a game. In 1962, while playing for the Warriors, Chamberlain scored about 100 points against the New York Knicks.

In 1965, Chamberlain was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers and joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 1968. On Feb. 16, 1972, Chamberlain became the first African American NBA player to score a total of 30,000 points in 940 games.

In 1973, Chamberlain signed with the San Diego Conquistadors as a player-coach. In 1974, Chamberlain decided to retire from professional basketball. After his retirement, Chamberlain went into real estate and bought a Harlem nightclub, Smalls Paradise.

In 1978, Chamberlain was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Through the years, before his death, Chamberlain used his platform to help children and adults stay proactive with their health. Chamberlain sponsored and formed a track and field club in southern California, Wilt’s Athletic Club.

Unfortunately, on Oct. 12, 1999, Chamberlain died of congestive heart failure in Bel-Air, California at the age of 63.

Chamberlain’s athletic gestures and skillful moves earned him to be known as one of the greatest athletes of all time.