Any guy who slept with 20,000 women deserves to be #1. But, here I only consider on-court performance, so Wilt comes in at #2.
As I said in evaluating Kareem, the decision between #2 and #3 is very tough. Kareem won more titles, Kareem was more often first-team all-NBA. Kareem lasted longer....again, on the court. Kareem even had 3 awesome seasons that were as good or better than any Wilt ever had. But Wilt's stats over a 12 season career just cannot be denied.
Most consecutive seasons leading league in points,
Most points, seasonHighest average, points per game, season
Most points, rookie, season
Highest average, points per game, rookie, season
Most points, game
100-Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia vs. New York, at Hershey, Pa., March 2, 1962
Most points, rookie, game
Most games, 50 or more points, career
Most games, 50 or more points, season
Most consecutive games, 50 or more points
7 -Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia, December 16-December 29, 1961
Most games, 40 or more points, career
471-Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia, 1959-60-1961-62, San Francisco, 1962-63-1964-65; Philadelphia, 1964-65-1967-68; Los Angeles, 1968-69-1972-73
Most games, 40 or more points, season
Most consecutive games, 40 or more points
14-Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia, December 8-December 30, 1961
Most consecutive games, 30 or more points
65-Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia, November 4, 1961-February 22, 1962
Most consecutive games, 20 or more points
126-Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia, San Francisco, October 19, 1961-January 19, 1963
Most points, one half
59-Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia vs. New York, at Hershey, Pa., March 2, 1962 (2nd half)
Rebounding Records --
Most seasons leading league
Most rebounds, career
Highest average, rebounds per game, career
Most rebounds, season
Most rebounds, rookie, season
Most seasons, 1,000 or more rebounds
Highest average, rebounds per game, season
27.2-Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia, 1960-61(2,149/79)
Most rebounds, game
55-Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia vs. Boston, November 24, 1960
Most rebounds, rookie, game
45-Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia vs. Syracuse, February 6, 1960
Wilt had a 20-20-20 game.
Wilt led the league in assists for an entire year.
Wilt is said to have blocked 26 shots in a game, yet they didn't keep blocks during his time (his 20-20-20 was with assists). When Wilt and Bill Russell played at the same time, Wilt was first-team all-NBA 7 times. OK, you understand that? Bill Russell, who claims to be the greatest player in NBA history, was regularly second-team all-NBA behind Wilt.
Wilt was 4X MVP in a league that included Russell, Oscar, Baylor, and Petit.
In the 1963-64 season, in which Oscar averaged nearly a triple double, Oscar was named the MVP. Wilt finished second. Wilt was robbed. Wilt's 1963-64 season is arguably the greatest season ever played. Wilt led the league in minutes played, PER, Win Shares (25), WS/48 (.325) and scoring. He had 14 offensive Win Shares and 10 defensive Win Shares.
In the history of the game, no one else has ever had 14 OWS and 10 DWS in a season. Never. In the history of the game, no one else has ever had 10 OWS and 10 DWS in a season. Ever. No one. In the 6 seasons that Russell had 10+ DWS, he never logged 4 OWS. Think about that. 10 DWS in a season has occurred only 8 times. Russell 6 and Wilt in 1963-64 (14 OWS) and 1967-68 (9 OWS).
The 1963-64 Warriors were coached by Alex Hannum. The #2 Win Shares player for them that year was Tom Meschery (similar career path to Robert Reid and Mark Olberding). That team reached the NBA finals by defeating a team of Bob Petit, Zelmo Beatty, Cliff Hagan, Richie Guerin and Lenny Wilkens. Wilt averaged 38 PPG. In the Finals, Russell managed to hold Wilt to 29-27 and 2 and the Celtics won in 5.
Wilt that year had 3.8 playoff Win Shares and a .323 WS/48. Yet that goes down as just another year where Wilt lost to Russell and Wilt didn't even win the MVP. Arguably the greatest year of basketball ever played, lost to the sands of time.
So, why isn't Wilt #1? Well, Wilt had opportunities to win and didn't win. He only won 2 titles. He did reach the finals 7 times. There is one guy in NBA history who has about as many statistical #1 placements as Wilt, and he won the title 6 times in 6 finals, so I have to give him the edge. But I will NEVER abuse anyone who thinks that Wilt is the greatest NBA player of all-time on the court, and if you add in the off the court legend, well......
RIP big fella.