Season by Season
Wilt Chamberlain Arrives with
1959 to 1960
The NBA had seen a big man dominate before, when George
Mikan's Minneapolis Lakers won five NBA titles in six years from 1949
through 1954. But in terms of individual dominance, no one had seen
anything quite like Wilt Chamberlain. At 7-1 and nearly 275 pounds,
Wilt towered over Bill Russell and the other centers of his time. In
his rookie season with the Philadelphia Warriors, Chamberlain won both
Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player, leading the league in scoring
(37.6) and rebounding (27.0). Chamberlain scored 50 or more points in
seven times. A Philadelphia team that went 32-40 improved to 49-26,
and Chamberlain's Warriors attracted capacity crowds most nights.
But despite the arrival of Chamberlain, the Celtics were still the league's
top team, which was underlined as Boston won an NBA-record 59 games
and the Eastern Division. St. Louis won the West by 16 games in what
was now a 75-game season. Boston defeated the Warriors and Chamberlain
in six games to advance to the Finals, while St. Louis was pushed to
seven games by the Lakers before advancing to once again meet the Celtics.
The teams split the first six games, with Boston winning in blowouts
and St. Louis just scraping by. The Celtics easily won Game 7 in Boston
as Russell starred with 22 points and 35 rebounds.
CELTICS BUILD DYNASTY PIECE BY PIECE
The Celtics, with Red Auerbach at the controls, had built a champion
piece by piece, beginning with Bob Cousy in 1950, adding Bill Sharman
in 1951, Frank Ramsey in 1954, Jim Loscutoff in 1955, and Tom Heinsohn
and Bill Russell in 1956.
But after the first championship in 1957, the Celtics didn't stop adding
players who put winning above personal achievements. Sam Jones came
aboard in 1957, K.C. Jones and Gene Conley in 1958, and Tom Sanders
in 1960. Auerbach's legendary eye for talent and demand for team play
had set in motion one of sport's greatest dynasties.
NBA History Season by Season
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