These 10 famous NBA stars of the 1960’s played an important role in modernizing the game, drawing large audiences in the age of proliferating arenas and burgeoning television coverage. From Wilt Chamberlain’s absurd 100-point game to Jerry West’s dribbling effigy that appears on the NBA logo, the most famous NBA players of the 1960’s are some of the best of all time.
- Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt "The Stilt" Chamberlain is a legend. One of the great NBA stars, Wilt averaged an unprecedented 50.4 points per game in the ’61-’62 season, during which he had 100, 78, 73, and 67 point games. Add to that the man has lain with more than 20,000 women and was in "Conan the Destroyer," and you have yourself one of the most famous NBA players of the 1960’s.
- Bill Russell. Along with "The Stilt," Russell redefined the role of the big man in the NBA. One of the most famous players of the ‘60’s, Russell won eleven NBA titles, including eight consecutive ones. When Celtics coach Red Auerbach retired, Russell took over as the team’s manager, becoming the first black team leader in NBA history. Russell averaged 22.5 rebounds per game, taking down 51 in a single game.
- Jerry West. Jerry West is one of the most famous NBA players of all time, let alone the 1960’s. The quick-dribbling guard’s famous form served as the template for the NBA’s silhouetted logo of a man running with the ball. West was one of the great shooting guards in NBA history, and only the third player of all time to reach a career totally of more than 25,000 points.
- Bob Cousy. Cousy played alongside Bill Russell on the Celtics for five of their eight consecutive titles. Nicknamed the Houdini of the Hardwood, Cousy was a ten-time NBA all star and a fan favorite with the Boston faithful. Called the greatest player of all time by former New York Knicks Coach Joe Lapchick, Cousy was one of the most famous NBA players of the ‘60’s.
- Oscar Robertson. In his second season in the NBA, Oscar Robertson averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists per game, thus achieving the phenomenal feat of averaging a triple-double for the course of an entire season. Robertson’s scoring total of 26,710 points is the eight highest total of all time, making him one of the decade’s most famous players.
- Elgin Baylor. Ten-time all star Elgin Baylor was known for his acrobatic daring and explosive play-making ability. Though he was a forward and an exemplary paint player, Baylor also had a great shot. Said Jerry West in 1992, “He was one of the most spectacular shooters the game has ever known.”
- John Havlicek. Havlicek won eight NBA championships in his 16 NBA seasons, including four with Russell’s Celtics. With 26,395 career points, Havlicek is the top Celtics scorer of all time. This alone is enough to merit his conclusion on this list of the most famous NBA players of the 60’s.
- Willis Reed. As a seasoned veteran of the game, Willis Reed lead the New York Knicks to their first ever NBA championship in the ’70 season, having built a wealth of skill and leadership ability during the 1960’s. During game 7 of those fateful finals, Reed scored two of the most well-known buckets in NBA history.
- Jerry Ray Lucas. The fourth best rebounder in NBA history, Jerry Lucas is more well known for his storied collegiate career, during which he took Ohio State on a stellar unbeaten run. Lucas played alongside Robertson for a large part of his career, and won a gold medal with the US Olympic team in Rome.
- Bill Bradley. Bill Bradley was never a great player, but he was solid, consistent, and a continual presence. More than his tenure in the NBA, it was Bradley’s stint in the United States Congress that makes him one of the most famous NBA players of the 1960’s. You don’t have to be a basketball aficionado to have heard of a man who sat on Capitol Hill.
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