It was fifty years ago today- July 9, 1968- the Philadelphia 76ers traded the great Wilt Chamberlain to the Los Angeles Lakers for three players- Archie Clark, Jerry Chambers and Darrall Imhoff. Wilt in the 1967-68 season had been the NBA’s MVP- this was the first time that a reigning MVP had been traded the following season.
The Lakers owner Jack Kent Cooke would award his new player with a contract of $250,000 after taxes. Jerry West by comparison was making $100,000 for the Lakers. Why did the 76ers trade Wilt Chamberlain? Wilt was from Philadelphia but he had felt he had outgrown Philly- he was a big star-he wanted to play in a city for stars. LA-swimming pools, movie stars. According to the man who traded him- Dr. Jack Ramsay- the 76ers were backed into a corner. Wilt had threatened to go to the ABA if not traded- so it was better to get something out of trading Wilt than to lose him for nothing. Wilt would play five seasons for the Lakers- he was still a great player but was starting to slow down. He was a key part of the 1972 great Lakers team that won 33 games in a row and finally won an NBA title in LA after years of running into the Boston Celtics.. He retired in 1973.