Season by Season
1960 to 1961
"Big O", West
Move from Olympics to the NBA
Chamberlain took the game to new heights
and averaged 38.4 ppg in 1960-61.
The NBA was changing rapidly. Elgin Baylor and Wilt
Chamberlain had each brought a special brand of excitement to the
league with landmark NBA debuts. In 1960, two guards who would thrill
NBA fans for the next 14 seasons and who would always be inextricably
linked joined the league. Oscar Robertson and Jerry West, both superb
collegians, entered together after winning gold medals at the 1960
Olympics. Cincinnati's Robertson had a more immediate impact, averaging
30.5 ppg and leading the league with 9.7 assists per contest. With
Chamberlain scoring 38.4 ppg and Baylor at 34.8 ppg, it marked the
first time in NBA history that three players scored 30 ppg in the
same season. West, on the other hand, came aboard just as the Lakers
made a bold move, leaving Minneapolis for the larger market of Los
Angeles, and averaged 17.6 ppg as a rookie.
The schedule had been increased to 79 games, and Boston
and St. Louis once again outclassed the competition with 57 and 51 victories,
respectively. For the second straight season, St. Louis had to fight
off the Lakers in a seven-game Western Division Finals to meet the Celtics,
who cruised past Syracuse in five games. Unfortunately for the Hawks,
the well-balanced Celtics dismissed them in five games.
WEST WANTS IN
To the untrained eye, Jerry West appeared to be just a skinny kid from
West Virginia when he came to the NBA in 1960. But the 6-3 college forward
learning to be a pro guard had a desire to be the best and skills that
would allow him to get there. As a rookie, West played behind fellow
West Virginia legend Hot Rod Hundley, but it was not long before West
pleaded for and got more minutes.
"I knew I couldn't learn sitting on the bench," West said.
"The only thing I could learn were bad habits. I had to get out
there and get rid of those first-year jitters."
NBA History Season by Season
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