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More memories of ‘The Stilt’

The NBA was an eight-team league with a 75-game regular season schedule in 1959-60. Wilt Chamberlain, advertised then as 7-2, was a rookie with the Philadelphia Warriors who became that season’s MVP and Rookie of the Year. The Lakers were in their final season in Minneapolis before announcing a move to Los Angeles in April 1960. The Warriors and the Lakers played nine games that season, with only two of those games in the Twin Cities. The Lakers won both of those, and lost the other seven to Wilt and the Warriors.

Nov. 15, 1959: Lakers 106, Warriors 100, at St. Paul Auditorium. Dick Garmaker scored 23 and Elgin Baylor 21 for the Lakers. Wilt had 26 points and 25 rebounds. The crowd was 4,573.

Feb. 27, 1960: Lakers 109, Warriors 91, at Minneapolis Armory. Baylor had 23 and Chamberlain 34. The crowd of 5,712 was huge for the Lakers’ waning days in Minneapolis.

Quote from Chamberlain

“Elgin Baylor is the best all-around player in the NBA. His NBA record of 64 points [set Nov. 8, 1959] is amazing for a man his size [6-5]. Maybe if I get lucky someday I’ll be able to beat it.’’

Wilt scored a still-NBA record of100 points in a Warriors game played in Hershey, Pa., against the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962. He averaged 50.4 points that season, amazing even for a man his size.

Chamberlain died on Oct. 12, 1999, at 63, from long-term heart problems.

Patrick Reusse