Wilton Norman Chamberlain was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Olivia Ruth (Johnson), a domestic worker, and William Chamberlain, a welder, custodian, and handyman. Wilt didn’t come from a race of giants as many thought. Both his parents were no bigger than 5-9, but as a young boy he began a growth spurt which would eventually stop when he reached 7-1. That height made him legendary in sports history as arguably the greatest basketball player ever. Chamberlain played at Overbrook High School in Philadelphia, and collegiately at Kansas University, where he led the Jayhawks to the NCAA finals. Kansas lost in title game to North Carolina and that game haunted Chamberlain throughout his career and gave birth to the unfair image of him as a “loser.” He left Kansas as an underclassman to play professionally for the Harlem Globetrotters, and after a year with them, signed to play with his hometown team in the NBA, the then-named Philadelphia Warriors. With the Warriors he performed some astonishing feats that no NBA player before or since accomplished.
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