Mythbusters: Wilt, the Incredible Stilt!

  • @drgnslayr

    I was only able to see Wilt’s games toward the end of his career. Most of what I know about Wilt I learned only after I moved to Lawrence, Kansas in the mid 70s and became a Jayhawk fan. The more I read about him, the more I am convinced that he was the most gifted athlete of my generation and perhaps of all time. Kareem and Bird were always my favorites, in part because I followed their careers from beginning to end, but Wilt might overtake them some day.

  • @drgnslayr Nice! Nice work man. Thats great stuff.

  • @drgnslayr

    I am sorry for bumping this old thread but I found it while doing a Google search and wanted to add something here. I clipped this photo from a YouTube video that asks this very question. People talk about players who were able to take a quarter from the top of a backboard, but the number of players who could actually do it can be counted on one hand. In this photo, Wilt’s hand is clearly about a foot above the top of the backboard and almost his entire head is above the rim. Wilt’s thumb is above the letter K in “backboard” and his fingers extend to the edge of the frame at the top. This is completely and utterly ridiculous. My guess is that when you combine his height, his reach, and his vertical jump, nobody in history could reach an object higher off the ground than he could.

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  • @Traces-of-Texas

    Okay, I was able to snag a couple of other shots without the letters. In the second photo, his head is even higher than in the first but he has already blocked the shot and his arm is beginning to come down. Nevertheless, it’s clear that the rim is at about the same height as Wilt’s adam’s apple. I apologize for the lack of clarity, but that’s what I had to work with.

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  • The last screenshot. My gods.

  • @Traces-of-Texas wowow! Nice shots!

  • Wilt was a good student. He listened to everything I told him and made it his mission in all competition to DESTROY the opponent, not just defeat them. In my opinion, he was the greatest all around athlete there ever was. Or will be.

  • @approxinfinity

    Thanks. In my opinion, it pretty definitively answers the question re: whether he could ever reach the top of the backboard. My guess is that when he was at Kansas he probably could have jumped high enough to take a quarter off the backboard but that after he went to the Globies and then into the NBA and added 20-30 pounds he could no longer do it, which is why we don’t have photos of him doing it. But he remembered that at one point he COULD do it so he would say that he could do it because, you know, Wilt being Wilt and all.

    BTW here’s the video. Judge for yourself.

  • @Traces-of-Texas

    I really appreciate your posts! Thanks!

  • One thing to remember when comparing Wilt to current or more recent nba players on any ability, Wilt did not have the advantage of modern nutrition and training when he accomplished what he did. His numbers on everything would be better if he did. He had a hand timed 4.6 in the 40, at 7’1". He beat the great Jim Brown in a foot race. Twice. Barefoot. He is without a doubt the most accomplished athlete ever in pro sports and in my opinion, easily the GOAT in the NBA. Also he not only is in two different halls of fame, basketball and volleyball, but is always in the conversation when discussing who is the greatest in both sports.

  • I just laugh at people who argue MJ or Lebron for the GOAT. When you see the 4 best scoring averages in a season were his, 6 of the top 7 rebounding seasons were his, and how much above the other competition his stats were, well, it’s clear. He averaged almost 46 minutes a game. Imagine his ppg had he been better than a 51% FT shooter!

  • @drgnslayr I’ve read enough books and articles about Wilt that I truly believe he could have donned a red cape with a giant “S” (or W, or KU) on it and he could have, from a standing start, jumped onto the top of the backboard.

    He was a freak athlete. Like you said, not just basketball player - but athlete.

  • @wissox He didn’t win is the problem. That dominant and only won 2 championships while another dominant big man of that same era won 11. So Chamberlain really isn’t in the conversion even though he’s a top 3 player in my book.


    Here’s what waters down that argument. Bill Russell played on some stacked teams compared to Wilt. All those guys had the benefit of a shorter playoff than the modern NBA though when comparing to modern greats.

    And the argument Russell isn’t the best ever - 11 championships 0 finals mvps.

  • @wissox I didn’t google it right now, but the last time we talked about Wilt, I looked and LeBron had something like twelve 50 point games in 16 years (?). MJ had 31.


    That’s more than the next top five 50 point scorers combines.

    (Yeah, I went back and googled it…)

  • @nuleafjhawk He averaged 50 points a game one season! Incredible!

    @dylans I know he didn’t win. I wasn’t around then, so I couldn’t argue this point, but Wilt it’s been said didn’t have much around him during his NBA career.

  • @dylans said in Mythbusters: Wilt, the Incredible Stilt!:

    And the argument Russell isn’t the best ever - 11 championships 0 finals mvps.

    Best cherry-picked argument ever, since they didn’t award it until 1969 and it is an award named after him! 😉

  • @mayjay duh my bad. Played with too many hof players. He was more of a supporting guy imho. A damn good one, but a supporting guy none the less.

  • @mayjay so who do you have?

  • @dylans I put the smiley on my post because I thought you were intending to be ironic. Go ahead, claim it!

    I think Russell was the greatest winner of all time in any team sport, Bo Jackson the most amazing athlete I ever saw, and Wilt the best scorer of all time. I would give Wilt the best individual athlete of all time, but I think he was not as good a team player as Russell. Wilt’s stats are amazing, and it seems he could do anything he wanted, but I think he was too focused on stat-chasing (and chasing other things, too). The Lakers title showed what he could do when he didn’t need to be the primary scorer.

  • @dylans Who’s talking about championships? We’re talking about who was the best athlete/player.

    KU has had plenty of great players who have never won a championship - that doesn’t diminish their ability. In fact - you could probably argue that there are a lot of championship teams (in every sport) who don’t even have one great player. Just a lot of good ones that happen to be on top when the pieces fell just right.

    Wilt was the best.

  • There’s a great account of Wilt in Kareem’s autobiography, “Giant Steps.” It was the sometime in the mid 1960s and Kareem was an up-and-coming wunderkind basketball player. One night he went out to play in a Rucker League game in New York City. Wilt was there as were a bunch of other NBA players as well as quite a few nice-looking lady spectators. Somebody ----- Earl Monroe, maybe ----- made the mistake of dunking on Wilt and then doing some sort of minor celebration. Bad move. According to Kareem, Wilt got mad. Kareem says something like “so then Wilt had to block every shot and score every point, which he did.”

  • @Traces-of-Texas nice find!

  • Awesome post, never really thought that much about Wilt’s vertical. From what I’ve read in this article Kenny Gregory holds the highest officially recorded vertical jump (from the NBA Combine) at 45.5". I think you should have included Kenny Gregory’s 45.5" vertical jump since I think that he was technically an outlier to the 45" vertical jump average.

    Also, I’m unsure as to whether or not Kenny Gregory has a higher vertical than Wilt, so I’m assuming Wilt’s vertical has to be at least 46".

  • @Raymond0197182 Kenny Gregory! Wow. I had no idea. High flying Kansas boys.

    Welcome to the board!

  • I have a 46 millimeter vertical jump

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