The NCAA was forced to change a couple rules during free throws due to the fact that Wilt Chamberlain could dunk without a running start.
Wilt Chamberlain is undoubtedly one of the most dominant forces to have ever picked up a basketball. There have been successors to the Sixers legend throughout the decades, most famously with Shaquille O’Neal being that discussion of ‘most dominant’ and it’s quite unfortunate that NBA fans were never given a chance to bear witness to a Shaq-Wilt showdown.
Sure, Wilt Chamberlain was a strong athlete. He could post up quite nearly any other big in the league that was thrown at him and have the ball go through the basket more often than not. However, many forget that Chamberlain wasn’t just a force of nature, barreling through opposing defenses. The 2x champ could jump out of a gym.
Both him and Bill Russell are some of the most underrated athletes in the history of the league as several still-shots and even a few static-filled clips show just how far and high the two could jump in various scenarios.
Wilt Chamberlain forced the NCAA to change a rule.
During the 1950s, competitive basketball was still finding its place within the major sporting leagues across North America. Rules were still being hashed out and most were tailored towards men who simply were not of the stature for Wilt Chamberlain. His presence alone led to a major rule change within the NCAA.
‘The Big Dipper’s’ college years saw him spend two seasons as a Kansas JayHawk. Here, he would average 30 points per game in his sophomore season. Though this is an incredible feat, it isn’t nearly as astonishing as the repercussions of having Chamberlain merely exist as an NCAA athlete.
Wilt Chamberlain was reportedly so athletic that he did not need a running start to dunk from the free throw line. So, when at the charity stripe, ‘Wilt the Stilt’ would simply launch himself from the line to the basket and this would actually be counted as a made free throw.
Of course, this may sound absurd but it took the NCAA years to crack down on this and eventually ban it from happening by tweaking a few rules related to free throws. According to them, both feet had to be planted behind the stripe when attempting a free throw. This rule is what led to several iconic shots of Wilt shooting underhand free throws.