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On This Date in Sports January 13, 1965: Wilt Returns to Philadelphia

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Wilt Chamberlain goes home, as he is traded by the San Francisco Warriors to the Philadelphia 76ers for Connie Dierking, Paul Neumann, Lee Shaffer, and $300,000. Chamberlain had been struggling along with the Warriors, who were struggling financially in their third season by the bay. Chamberlain would finish the season strong leading the Sixers to the Western Division Finals.

Wilt Chamberlain was born on August 21, 1936, in Philadelphia. Chamberlain dominated the Philadelphia schoolyards and went to play his college ball at Kansas, where he led the Jayhawks to an appearance in the NCAA Championship Game. Teams would often use stall tactics to keep the ball away from Wilt Chamberlain, which led him to leave college early. After a year with the Harlem Globetrotters, Wilt Chamberlain signed with his hometown Philadelphia Warriors.

Upon entering the NBA, the seven-foot-tall Wilt Chamberlain became one of the league’s most dominant players as he won the Rookie of the Year, Scoring Title, and MVP in 1960. Chamberlain would win the scoring title in each of his first three NBA seasons. In 1962 he had the greatest game in NBA history, scoring 100 points against the New York Knicks. However, the Warriors moved to San Francisco following the season.


Wilt Chamberlain never warmed to the City of San Francisco, and the fans never took to him, as Warriors Owner Franklin Mieuli infamously said, “Chamberlain is not an easy man to love [and] the fans in San Francisco never learned to love him. Wilt is easy to hate […] people came to see him lose.” A year after the Warriors departed Philadelphia, the Syracuse Nationals took their place, becoming the 76ers. Looking to make a splash in their second season, the Sixers agreed to acquire Wilt Chamberlain during the 1965 NBA All-Star Game in St. Louis.

Happy to be home, Wilt Chamberlain has some of his best seasons with the 76ers, winning three straight MVP awards. In 1967 he Chamberlain finally became a champion as the 76ers ended the Boston Celtics string of eight consecutive championships then went on to beat the Warriors in the NBA Finals. Wilt Chamberlain’s time in Philadelphia came to an end a year later as a contract dispute would lead to his trade to the Los Angeles Lakers after the 1967/68 season.