LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. -- In his rookie NBA season, Wilt Chamberlain didn't just smash the league's then-regular-season points record of Bob Pettit with his total of 2,707... he did so 56 games into his career.
Chamberlain finished 1959-60 as the NBA MVP and Rookie of the Year, one of only two players (Wes Unseld is the other) to win both NBA MVP and ROY honors in the same season.
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It was arguably the most dominant debut season in American sports history. Late Saturday night, a Chamberlain uniform from that season broke another record: Most expensive game-worn vintage (pre-1980) NBA item ever sold.
The uniform Chamberlain wore at every Philadelphia Warriors home game -- as well as some neutral contests and "even five playoff games, according to the included photo-matching analysis" -- sold with SCP Auctions for $1.792 million.
Chamberlain, who played with the Harlem Globetrotters for $50,000 in 1958-59 (more than $500,000 in 2023) after leaving the University of Kansas a year early, announced his arrival into the NBA in a way arguably no one has since. Because of the novelty of Chamberlain leaving Kansas early - unheard of in those days - Philadelphia's Eddie Gottlieb convinced the NBA that Chamberlain, a Philly product, should be a territorial draft choice.
The rest is history; such was Chamberlain's dominance that his 31,419 career points stood as the NBA record for 38 years before Kareem Abdul-Jabbarbroke it in 1984 -- which took another 19 years to be broken by LeBron James, with 38,652 and counting.
The Chamberlain uniform was photo-matched and authenticated by the MeiGray Group, Resoluation Photomatching (ResMatch) and Sports Investors Authentication (SIA); an additional letter from Mears Authentication grades the Chamberlain uniform a perfect A10. Multiple authenticators verified that stains on the jersey are, in fact, Chamberlain's playing-days blood.
Per SCP Auctions, "the matching jersey and shorts set was originally procured director from Wilt Chamberlain decades ago by his close friend who would become a trusted collector in the hobby." The man isn't identified, but "a letter of provenance from this gentleman" was included in the auction lot.
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