The Lost Finals MVP: 1967

Big Dippin', baby

Wilt Chamberlain finally gets his due.

Well, his due in the NBA Finals. He’d gotten plenty of regular season due.

In 1967 he won his third MVP as the Philadelphia 76ers raced away with the NBA’s best regular season record: 68-13.

Entering the playoffs, though, the 76ers still had doubts about beating the eight-time defending champion Boston Celtics. After all, the previous year the Sixers had the NBA’s best regular season record only to be pushed aside by the Celtics 4-games-to-1 in the Eastern Division Finals.

Doubts be damned, today. Chamberlain reversed the situation as his 76ers dethroned Boston in five games in the EDF. The Big Dipper was sensational averaging 21.6 PPG, 32.0 RPG, and 10.0 APG in the series opposite his nemesis, Bill Russell.

With Boston vanquished, surely Philadelphia would have an easy time in the NBA Finals versus the San Francisco Warriors.

Not exactly.

The first thorn was Nate Thurmond, perhaps the NBA’s best defensive center by 1967. Look, Russell was 32 years old …

This post is for paying subscribers