Wilt Chamberlain, according to the biography written on him in 1977, would only pass to players who had a hot hand to rack up assists.
Wilt Chamberlain was quite the disinterested man for being a world-class athlete. While ‘The Big Dipper’ was undoubtedly the best, most talented, and most capable player in the league for nearly a decade (yes, on paper, he was more talented than Bill Russell), he couldn’t get out of his own way with his obsession for individual glory.
When it comes to him being ‘disinterested’, it ties back to him wanting to beef up his own box score on a nightly basis. Wilt would continually do things on the court that benefitted him alone, often disregarding the team’s success for the night or even for the season.
Everything from his asinine streak of never fouling out of a game and in turn becoming complacent on defense when reaching that 4th foul to never passing to teammates he felt didn’t deserve to get a pass from him: Wilt Chamberlain had a separate agenda for years on in his career.
Wilt Chamberlain would stop passing to help gain an assist title.
During the 1966-67 NBA season, Wilt Chamberlain finally realized that he needed to help keep team morale up if he wanted to have a squad that was a title contender. This led to him becoming obsessed with assists.
In that very season, Wilt went on to average the most assists of his career with 7.8 and win his first NBA championship. The following season, he led the league in total assists and averaged even more with 8.6. however, in the midst of his new-found love for passing, he began to play favorites with his teammates.
This is what Bill Libby wrote on this topic in his 1977 biography on Wilt called ‘Goliath’:
“A couple of times, he went to a teammate with a hot hand and told him he was going to give him the ball exclusively because the other guys were wasting his passes and he wouldn’t win the assists title that way.”
So, even when trying to emulate Bill Russell’s playstyle, Chamberlain let his own personality get in the way of it all. At the end of the day, Chamberlain, despite all of the records he broke as an individual, managed to muster up 2 titles over a 14 year playing career.
Wilt Chamberlain NEVER fouled out of a game in his whole career in the NBA😮, had a 55 rebound game against Russell, blocked 26 shots against the Pistons🥴, led the league in assists in 67/68 season with 8.6/games, & he had a 7’8 wingspan!
Wilt’s Lakers won 33 in a row 71/72😵 pic.twitter.com/zt9Z0ILmoS
— Richard Aller (@RichardAller2) June 12, 2022