Wilt Chamberlain wasn’t called the ‘Big Dipper’ because of his finger roll but because of something during his childhood.
Wilt Chamberlain was a giant of a man. He entered the league as the tallest man in the NBA and held his title for quite some time. His 7’1 frame was too much for quite nearly anyone in the league to deal with, except well, Bill Russell of course. The Boston Celtics legend’s defense was the ultimate foil to Chamberlain’s offense.
The two matching up against one another felt like an unstoppable force crashing into a moving object time and time again. Well, in this case, the immovable object was far more successful than the ‘unstoppable force’ as Bill Russell towered over Wilt Chamberlain in terms of team accomplishments.
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11 rings to 2 rings is quite the difference. That difference in team success however, was made up (for the most part), in individual accolades.
The amount of individual scoring and rebounding records that Wilt possesses are absolutely absurd, and he attained those with an array of offensive moves that were good enough for today’s league.
Wilt Chamberlain received his ‘Big Dipper’ name for something else.
Wilt Chamberlain, as mentioned earlier, had an offensive arsenal of great extent. He had everything from the 10-foot fadeaway to the turnaround bank shot that he mastered quite easily. Imagining a 7’1 center raise the ball another foot and a half into the air for a shot is quite a terrifying visual.
However, amongst all of those moves, his most iconic shot was his smooth finger roll. His height allowed him to simply ‘dip’ the ball into the basket, leading to the nickname ‘The Big Dipper’ becoming synonymous with Wilt Chamberlain himself.
However, the ‘Icons Club’ podcast narrated by Jackie MacMullan revealed that Wilt actually received this nickname his youth for something completely unrelated to his finger roll. [at the 4:27 mark]
“It [the nickname] was actually from his childhood. He learned to play basketball in a basement but was so tall that he had to dip his head under the pipe so he wouldn’t smash his forehead,” said MacMullin.