5 Rules That Were Changed Because Of Wilt Chamberlain

There are a few things left to say about Wilt Chamberlain. The big man is one of the most dominant players ever and nobody can deny it. He didn't win as many championships as Bill Russell or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did, but Wilt is one of the most memorable names in the game of basketball.

Chamberlain not only set a lot of records but also made big plays and had impressive stats during his career. He was responsible for changing the game of basketball. The NBA and NCAA actually changed the rules to make it harder for Wilt. Thanks to Chamberlain, the league changed five rules:

  • Offensive Goaltending
  • Defensive Goaltending
  • Size of the lane/paint
  • Free throw shooting
  • Inbounding the Ball

In 1956, the league banned offensive goaltending. The rule said that no player can touch the ball if any part of it is over the cylinder. Nowadays it's called basketball interference. 12 years before that, in 1944, the league had already banned defensive goaltending.

In 1964, trying to stop Chamberlain, the NBA widened the lane area from 12 feet to 16. Curiously, they first widened it from 6 feet to 12 to diminish the dominance of George Mikan in 1951.

During his time at the University of Kansas, teammates were throwing alley-oop passes over the top of the backboard from behind it so Wilt could make dunks. The NCAA changed this rule, too, after watching the big advantage Wilt had.

One of the most incredible stories about Chamberlain is how he shot free throws. He made the shot, jumped from behind the free-throw line and slam the ball through the basket before his feet touched the ground. He didn't touch any part of the lane area while the ball went through the rim, so that wasn't a violation. That created another rule that says, "players cannot cross the plane of the free-throw line, even if your feet are not touching the ground, until the ball hits the rim or passes through the basket."

You can talk about all the good things this man did in his career, how impressive was his jump, his 100-point game, whatever; making a competition changing the rules for you, that's a different story. That's why Chamberlain will always be part of the greatest players ever.