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NBA – 1959 To 1973 – Hilton Hotels NBA Classic Competitions – Wilt Chamberlain Vs Bill Russell


In the NBA during the 1960’s….Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain transformed the NBA game by combining height with a greater level of athleticism than any and all previous centers.  Between the two of them….Chamberlain and Russell won nine of the eleven MVP awards in the eleven-year period between 1958 and 1969….while playing against one another in six Eastern Conference Finals….and two NBA Finals between 1959 and 1969. Many of the records set by these two players have endured today in 2018….most notably, Chamberlain and Russell hold the top eighteen season averages for rebounds.  

Bill Russell led the University of San Francisco to two consecutive NCAA Championships in 1955 and 1956….who then joined the Boston Celtics and helped make them one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history….after winning eleven championships over his thirteen-year career (1956–69)….as well as five MVP awards.  Russell revolutionized defensive strategy with his shot-blocking, rebounding and physical man-to-man defense…..and although he was never the focal point of the Celtics offense….much of the team’s scoring came when Russell grabbed defensive rebounds….and initiated fast breaks with precision outlet passes to point guard Bob Cousy. 

Bill Russell’s principal rival was Wilt Chamberlain….who listed at 7’1″ (2.15 m) and 275 pounds (124 kg)…. as Chamberlain lacked Russell’s supporting cast most of his career. Chamberlain played college ball for the Kansas Jayhawks….who led them to the 1957 title game against the North Carolina Tar Heels….and although the Jayhawks lost by one point in triple overtime….Chamberlain was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.  Briefly a member of the Harlem Globetrotters before joining the Philadelphia Warriors of the NBA in 1959….Chamberlain won two Championships in 1967 with the Philadelphia 76’ers…. and in 1972 with the Los Angeles Lakers….although his teams were repeatedly defeated by the Celtics in the Eastern Conference and NBA Finals. Wilt Chamberlain also won seven scoring titles….plus eleven rebounding titles….and four regular season Most Valuable Player awards….including the distinction, in 1960, of being the first rookie to receive the award. Stronger than any player of his era, he was usually capable of scoring and rebounding at will….even thought he was the target of constant double- and triple-teaming….as well as fouling tactics designed to take advantage of his poor free-throw shooting….he still set a number of records that have never been broken….to include being the only player in NBA history to average more than 50 points in a season….while also scoring 100 points in a single game…as both of these incomprehensible records came in 1961–62 as a member of the Philadelphia Warriors). He also holds the NBA’s all-time records for rebounding average (27.2)….rebounds in a single game (55)….and career rebounds (23,924). 

Simply put…..this Classic Competition between Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain featured the NBA’s Best Winner and the NBA’s Best Scorer and Rebounder of all time. 

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