Dunks and Don'ts: Five Other Facts About Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt set scoring records, and voted for Nixon...twice
Today the sports world is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of NBA Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game. He accomplished the feat in the 1962 season as a member of the Philadelphia Warriors in a game against the New York Knicks. In addition to scoring 100 points, he also set five other all time records in the same game. In fact, he broke his own record of scoring 78 points in a game which was the highest total up until that day.
Wilt is also known for another infamous number, 20,000. The life long bachelor who fathered no children claims to have slept with that many women during his time on Earth, a number that has been mocked, admired and disdained all the same. For the man to have lived 63 years there has to be more to him right? Did you know who he voted for? Did you know who he had beef with? Did you know how he even arrived at that 20,000 number?
Today as everyone is buzzing about "Wilt the Stilt," Loop 21 wanted to share five other facts about him:
1. WILT DUNKED HIS FOUL SHOTS
Back in the day, players were allowed to get a running start before shooting their foul shots. So, as long as you didn't go across the free throw line, everything was fair game. Wilt however, was so big and fast that he would get a running start, jump from the free throw line and dunk the ball in. Yes, he dunked his free throws. Eventually, they changed the rules to what you see today. Wilt's dominance also forced the league to widen the painted lane area from 12 feet to 16 feet.
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2. 20,000 WOMEN, NOT TRUE:
Granted, Wilt definitely got it in, but all of that 20,000 women stuff is made up. He and a friend came up with the number during a vacation stay in Hawaii in the mid-80s. Over a span of 10 days, Wilt slept with 23 different women, putting him at 2.3 women a day (wonder what a .3 looks like/counts for).
They divided that number in half, multiplied it by how many days he'd been living and shaved off 15 years. The author of A View From Above, the book where he made the claim once said that Wilt just rattled off the number in passing and didn't mean for it be taken seriously.
3. HE WAS A REPUBLICAN:
There was a time when black athletes were very vocal about their political affiliations and Wilt was no different. He boldly supported Richard Nixon in both of his presidential runs in 1968 and 1972. He also publicly denounced the Black Panther Party. Pretty much, he didn't take part in any black nationalist or civil rights movements of the day, which was also the prime of his career. His views often put him at odds with other more Pro-black athletes who used their influence for "the movement." Chamberlain accompanied Nixon to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral.
4. PRO-BLACK ATHLETES HATED HIM: Of course any brotha supporting Nixon is going to catch his fair share of hell. But that and his overall personality rubbed many of his black sports contemporaries the wrong way. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar called him a traitor to the black race because he liked Nixon and white women. He even called him a "crybaby, loser and quitter" in his autobiography. Tennis star Arthur Ashe called him an embarassment to black men after he made his infamous "20,000 women claim." His long standing rival Bill Russell questioned his on-court toughness and even accused him of quitting on his team in the 1969 NBA Finals. That statement led to the both of them not speaking to each other for over 20 years.
5. HE WAS BALLIN':
In addition to his many records, Wilt will also be remembered as the first "big earner" in professional basketball. His rookie contract was an unprecedented $30,000 in 1959. And he is the first ever player to have a $100,000 contract to play basketball. During his playing days in Philly, he lived in New York and would commute back and forth.
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