Wilt Chamberlain is one of the most famous NBA players in history and a legend in the game. He was a huge star in the 1960s and 1970s, being named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) three times and named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996. However, what many people do not know is that Chamberlain spent his entire career trying to do more for others. He was a good man, and a humble one at that.
Over the course of his basketball career, Wilt Chamberlain’s reputation for being an all-time great has likely surpassed the memory of his charitable deeds. As the story goes, Chamberlain accepted an invitation from his friend, George Mikan, to attend a game in Minneapolis along with some of his Chicago Bulls teammates. Mikan was impressed by Chamberlain’s muscles, and offered him $10,000 to play a season of basketball with the Minneapolis Lakers. Chamberlain – who was earning $51,000 per year at that time – accepted, and was subsequently voted MVP of the NBA.
Wilt Chamberlain was one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history, but he made basketball fans take notice for much more than his offensive prowess. Behind his signature epic dunks and crazy-in-a-good-way antics, Chamberlain was one of the most well-liked athletes in NBA history. There was only one problem: Wilt’s personal life.
While NBA fans have seen a plethora of great players throughout the years, few have loomed bigger than Wilt Chamberlain. The center, in addition to being a physically huge guy, could speak a tremendous game. Everything he did, from his physical skills to his love adventures, was an opportunity for him to flaunt his abilities. Wilt the Stilt, on the other hand, might be a whole different person behind the scenes.
Take, for example, a late-90s relationship between the large guy and a woman. Chamberlain spent a full year discreetly giving her his company after receiving a letter from the dying granddaughter of an NBA great.
Wilt Chamberlain was bigger than life in almost every meaning of the word.
It’s no longer uncommon for a celebrity athlete to make headlines because of their outsized personality. Chamberlain, on the other hand, pushed things to a new level.
Wilt stood 7-foot-1 and towered above the opponents in the literal meaning of the phrase “bigger than life.” While this may not seem unusual in today’s NBA, it enabled the center to dominate the game. He averaged 30.1 points and 22.9 rebounds per game across 14 professional seasons. He undoubtedly blocked a lot more shots as well, but they weren’t documented at the time.
While such statistics undoubtedly boosted Chamberlain’s on-court confidence, he wasn’t just a basketball player. He was a phenomenal athlete who could run, play football, and succeed at volleyball with equal ease. If the tales are true, he may have accomplished numerous feats of strength, such as fending off a mountain lion with his bare hands.
Wilt was also renowned for bragging about his sexual escapades. The center claimed in a well-documented allegation that he had slept with more than 20,000 women in his life.
Overall, though, Chamberlain was considered as a kind man who just understood how to play a part.
According to Volleyball Magazine, former volleyball player Jon Stevenson said, “While Wilt came off as an arrogant, womanizing, superhuman via his media image, he was really a nice guy with me.”
For more than a year, the facility discreetly nurtured a dying girl.
Every superstar, particularly one as well-known as Wilt Chamberlain, is sure to get a lot of fan letters. While he first misplaced a letter from a little child, the center made up in the nicest manner possible.
In 1993, the granddaughter of Basketball Hall of Famer Paul Arizin sent Wilt a letter, according to a 2019 Philadelphia Inquirer article. Even though the large guy didn’t read the letter for many years, he phoned the girl and had a nice chat with her. Things had changed at that point.
Stephanie was 16 years old when she was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor. Despite the fact that she didn’t inform Chamberlain about her issue, he was aware of it. Wilt phoned Stephanie every Friday night for the remainder of her life, according to Stephanie’s father, “from the moment they first talked.”
In an old episode of Warriors Roundtable, Jim Barnett gave his own account of events. In addition to phoning Stephanie every Friday night, Chamberlain brought her to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team celebration and got her an autograph from Bill Russell, who had ceased signing at the time. Wilt seems to have explained that it was for “his buddy,” and the Celtics great agreed.
Barnett said, “That’s the sort of person [Chamberlain] was.” “And he didn’t make a big deal about it; no one was aware of it. He went out of his way to help because he cared. He was sympathetic.”
This isn’t the only tale about Wilt Chamberlain and his persona.
Before a game against the Boston Celtics, Wilt Chamberlain warms up. | Dan Goshtigian/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
While Chamberlain’s encounters with Stephanie create an image of a compassionate giant rather than a hulking egotist, they might be dismissed as a random sequence of occurrences. Wilt may have been taken aback by the severity of the situation. Perhaps he felt obliged to go above and above the call of duty because he felt guilty for not responding to the letter sooner. However, other stories indicate that this was not the case.
The big man’s generosity became apparent during his early days with the Harlem Globetrotters, according to an ESPN clip from Wilt: 1962. Wilt was eager to reveal behind the scenes, despite the fact that he needed some encouragement to stand out on the court. Gary M. Pomerantz stated, “He relished the camaraderie with colleagues.” He was renowned for passing around two cans of salmon, two loaves of bread, and two cartons of milk on bus rides.”
At the other end of his career, Chamberlain continued the tradition, although with a more contemporary twist.
“We used to go down to the Hilton while we were in college [in Hawaii].” We were in a four-person group. According to Volleyball Magazine, retired volleyball player John Hanley said, “My roommate and I and another guy, and Wilt would come down and we’d play doubles.” “And the best part was that out of nowhere, some sandwiches, a lot of soft drinks, or some beers would appear for everyone who was playing.”
While Hanley thought a guy called Herm was pitying the college students, it turned out Chamberlain had been paying the tab for the last two years. Hanley said, “He made it plain that he didn’t want anybody to know where it was coming from.”
Wilt Chamberlain seemed to be a big guy with an even greater ego if you just read a few statements. Anecdotes from people who knew him, on the other hand, reveal a kinder side of the gentle giant.
Basketball-Reference.com provided this stat.
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Wilt Chamberlain is the only player to have been named MVP for two different clubs. An amazing athlete, he was a fierce competitor who dominated the game in both run and pass. Wilt was a prolific scorer, and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1971. In an “ESPN Moment”, Wilt’s 1994 game against the New Jersey Nets, he scored an incredible 50 points, at the age of just 36 years and 286 days, for the record.. Read more about wilt chamberlain athleticism and let us know what you think.
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