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Wilt vs. Kareem

Wilt vs. Kareem

March 17, 1972: The Lakers’ Wilt Chamberlain gets off a finger roll for a basket against Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the Milwaukee Bucks. Abdul-Jabbar was called for a foul. The Lakers won, 123-107, despite 50 points by Abdul-Jabbar.

For two seasons, Chamberlain’s Lakers and Abdul-Jabbar’s Bucks traded domination and NBA championships.

During the 1970-71 season, the Bucks dominated the Lakers, winning eight of 10 meetings, including the five-game Western Division Finals. Once past the Lakers, the Bucks won the 1971 NBA Championship.

Role reversal followed in the 1971-72 season. After winning four out of five regular-season matchups, the Lakers  beat the Bucks in a six-game Western Division Finals. The Lakers then won the 1972 NBA Championship.

This photo by Los Angeles Times staff photographer Larry Sharkey ran in the March 18, 1972, Times accompanying a Lakers-Bucks report in the Sports section. This image is often reused during Wilt vs. Kareem discussions.

By 1975, Chamberlain had retired and Abdul-Jabbar was traded to the Lakers. Abdul-Jabbar would lead the Lakers to several championships in the 1980s.

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