Wilt Chamberlain’s (probable) feelings on Load Management

Screenshot 2019-11-22 at 16.25.24

Load management. It’s a concept that has been developed for a little over ten years now. The logic behind it is simple. Assuming a team has enough depth to make the playoffs regardless, let the star players each take their respective times off. On the flip sides, for teams that have no chance of making the playoffs, also let talent sit out a game every so often (i.e. the Knicks). This would only allow the “tanking” team to lose more, hence get a higher pick in the draft.

Teams around the NBA are hopping on this “load management” philosophy much more often during the 2019-2020 campaign. After watching the champion Toronto Raptors’ utilize this method with Kawhi Leonard last season, the NBA went into a resting frenzy.

The likes of Paul George, Kawhi Leonard (still), hometown favorite Joel Embiid, RJ Barrett, pretty much any star or budding NBA star are being put onto this management system by their franchises.

We all know of the chaos of a debate that this new theory has caused. Now let’s face it, it makes sense to allow guys who, day in and day out, suffer wear and tear. But what would a guy like Wilt Chamberlain, one who played nearly every minute in his career, think about this?

The Immortal

Wilt Chamberlain is one of the greatest centers of all time. His natural scoring ability mixed in a 7’1, 275-pound frame created helplessness in opposing teams. He had two stints in Philadelphia, one as a Warrior and one as a 76er. During his final year in Philadelphia, before the Warriors moved out west, Chamberlain did the improbable.

The best kind of ability is availability.

The 1961-1962 season allowed Wilt to set one of the craziest records of all time. Including overtimes, he averaged 48.5 minutes per game. Mind you, there are only 48 minutes in a game. He missed only seven minutes over the entire 80-game season. He also wound up averaging over 50 points and 25 rebounds per game.

In his 1992 book, “A View From Above,” he said he was proudest of playing 3,882 total minutes in the 1961-62 campaign.

This was not a one and done type of statistic for Chamberlain, however. The big man managed to play big minutes. The center accumulated 47,859 minutes in his big league career. Even during his last three seasons, when he was 34,35, and 36, Wilt averaged 44, 42, and 43 minutes (respectively) in a single game.

The best part about all of this: Wilt Chamberlain was only paid $250,000. This equates to about a mere $1.8 million dollars today. If a player put up 50 points and almost 26 rebounds on average a game, while playing the entirety of every single game, I imagine they’d be getting paid close to 20 times that. (Yes, the NBA has grown since the ’60s, but still, think about it).

He played for the love of the game. This is not saying that NBA players don’t love the game. This whole load management idea is only going to deter development from rookies (i.e. RJ Barrett). Sure, every guy needs a game off now and then. The pain and agony these professionals put their bodies through are beyond any fan, writer, or outside person could imagine.

But, as for the immortal Wilt Chamberlain, load management would be more like a load of… (you can assume the rest).

Mandatory Photo Credit: AP Photo/Paul Vathis