Sunday, June 24, 2012
Wilt Chamberlain Interview 1987: A Private Man Showing More of Himself
I never understood the rap that Wilt Chamberlain had of not being an intelligent man and other NBA Centers that played with him. Bill Russell being in the same generation as Wilt, Kareem Abdul Jabbar playing a few seasons with him as a very young player in the early 1970s but being from the next generation. How Russ and Kareem were known as intelligent basketball players, as well as intelligent people but Wilt sorta being cast as a dumb jock. Big tall incredible athlete, one of the top two Centers of all time, a great athlete but someone who was perceived as a dumb jock and needed his Athletic Ability. To be successful in life, when the fact is Wilt Chamberlain was a very intelligent man, came from a good school, could talk about anything from basketball to Current Affairs, to entertainment. Wilt was a very charming and likable man, who his teammates loved but was also someone who enjoyed being alone and lived to be happy doing the things that made him happy. Rather then society telling him this is how you should be and if you don't live life the way we do, there is something wrong with you.
Wilt Chamberlain will always be linked with Bill Russell, the great Boston Celtics Center and Leader. Of arguably the great collection of teams of all time in the 1960s, The 1960s Celtics, that won 8-9 NBA Finals in that decade, while Wilt led the Philadelphia 76ers to win the 1967 NBA Finals. While at the same time Wilt was setting all kinds of NBA Records, points rebounds, points scored in one game etc. Going down by the time that he retired at least, as the great NBA Center of all time and there's a pretty good argument going on today, if he's still the greatest Centers of all time or has Kareem taken that away from him. But Russ is known as a Leader of Champions, the Celtics Dynasty of the 1960s, while Wilt is known for Individualism, this is what he accomplished on his own. So that goes against Wilt and perhaps why he doesn't get all of the respect he deserves.
Its great to see Wilt Chamberlain give public interviews like this and give more people the opportunity to see more of him. They generally get to and learn that Wilt Chamberlain the man, is a hell of a lot more then a dominant basketball player, one of the best who's ever played his position. And who's ever played the game at all and let people in to see the other side of him, the intelligent, witty and likable man that he was.