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Wilt: Larger Than Life Hardcover – September 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Triumph Books; 1st edition (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572436727
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572436725
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #560,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Long before Kobe, or Shaq, or MJ, or Magic, or Bird, or Kareem, there was Wilt--arguably the greatest basketball player of all time. For instance, in his third NBA season alone (1961-62), Wilt Chamberlain had per-game averages of 50.4 points and 25.7 rebounds, and he played all but nine minutes of his team's 80 games. Wilt would hold more than 80 records by the end of his career and would prompt the NBA to make several rule changes--creating the goal-tending call, for one. Despite these accomplishments, Wilt was always regarded as the "loser" and his Boston Celtic archrival, Bill Russell, as the "winner." Author Cherry addresses this misconception--Wilt's teams were always vastly weaker than Russell's--and also gives enough, but not too much, attention to Chamberlain's ill-considered, though possibly accurate, boast that he'd slept with some 20,000 women. A solid biography for any sports collection. Alan Moores
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From the Inside Flap

There are celebrities and so-called legends. And then there is Wilton Norman Chamberlain, unique and unforgettable, and one of the 20th century’s greatest and most controversial athletes.

Wilt: Larger than Life examines Chamberlain’s fascinating story, delving into his life both on and off the basketball court, and spanning his childhood to his death in 1999. The author spent four years crisscrossing the country researching Wilt’s life and gathering stories from the most important people in it. The result is the most thorough and entertaining book ever written about this American icon, a worthy addition to the annals of sports biographies.

Among those interviewed were Wilt’s longtime lawyer, doctor, and accountant; many of Wilt’s other male and female friends and associates; and his basketball teammates, coaches, and opponents at every level of his momentous career. This is a portrait of Wilt that relatively few people, except family and friends, have ever seen. Wilt covers Chamberlain’s stupendous athletic achievements, including the memorable basketball battles with Bill Russell, Willis Reed, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but equally compelling is the portrayal of the private Wilt and his unique lifestyle. Included in this in-depth look at the man and his life are a "tour" through his amazing home; vignettes of the beach volleyball life to which he was attracted; the sports teams he sponsored; the notorious claim of making love to twenty thousand women and the related issue of why he never married; his days (and nights) after his retirement from basketball; and his sad final weeks. Here, finally, is a biography that does justice to the myth and the man that was Wilt.


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 30 customer reviews
Yet this book explains the times well.
Pugwash
Anyone interested in the NBA or college basketball is going to find this book to be a captivating read.
N. Bilmes
Sonny knew all the old-school greats like Wilt and Hal Greer and the rest of the championship team.
Lincoln Reagan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Accordino VINE VOICE on November 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When Wilt Chamberlain passed away in Oct of 1997, it came as a shock to many that the 63 year old basketball legend died so young. Robert Cherry has written a wonderful biography and the first since wilt's passing that details his difficult final few years of struggles with many health related problems, that eventually led to his untimely death. Thirty years after he retired from basketball, Wilt still owns more NBA records then any player in history. Bill Russell may have won all those championships, but not even Russell was a match for Wilt statisically. Chamberlain almost always outscored and out rebounded Russell in every encounter. Russell no doubt almost always had the better teams. Abdul Jabbar played 20 seasons to Wilts 13, and yet Chamberlain has several thousand more lifetime rebounds. In the twilight of his career, a 35 year old Wilt led the Lakers to victory over the Bucks and a 25 year old Jabbar during the 1972 playoffs. Even more astounding, was wilt blocked 20 shots in two consecutive games in that series, and 11 of those blocked shots were on Kareem. Who the heck ever did that to Jabbar. Makes you wonder what Wilt would have done in his prime. As great as Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson were, none of them had the impact or dominance of Wilt Chamberlain. The rules of the game were altered upon Wilts arrival into the league. Modern day fans talk of Shaq being the greatest center of all-time. Does anyone out there think Shaq could have blocked 11 Kareem shots in two games? Shaq wouldn't have been able to leap high enough to block a skyhook. That statistic alone, should be enough to convince anyone of Wilts athleticism. The book documents his all phases of his life, but none is more eye opening then the author's recounting of Wilts final years.Read more ›
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Judd Vance on September 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
If you want to learn about Wilt Chamberlain and can only pick up one book, this is the book. The most factual account of his life ever written, and unlike Wilt's autobiographies, this one isn't interested in putting forth a myth. Much of Wilt's life was indeed larger than life, and the book covers them, and at the same time, the author doesn't cover up Wilt's faults. He interviews countless people who knew Wilt and covers his life from all of the angles. You learn about his achievements, his greatness, and his faults. Too bad all biographies can't be this good.

I have the web's largest Wilt fan site as well as a basketball books review site. I've read countless books and articles on Wilt, so it's not easy to impress me, but I was blown away by this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. Morton on April 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Multi-faceted book on the life of Wilt Chamberlain, arguably one of America's greatest athletes, hits on every level - it's knowledgable, comprehensive, and a fun read. The presentation is tremendously researched and well-paced, touching each significant stage of Wilt's life without overstaying its welcome. And anyway, who am I to argue with the review of one of Philly's top sportswriters, Mr. Mulligan? A special treat for those of us who always had a fascination with The Dipper, and highly recommended for anyone who's a fan of sports.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kmull on November 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As a Phila. sportswriter who has marveled at The Dipper and his movie-script life in and out of basketball for 40-plus years, I finally found the absolute definitive Chamberlain biography that perhaps Wilt could not have done better, were he still with us. Like Wilt, this is the Greatest. Educational, informative, anecdotal, respectful, fun and well done. Thanks Bob.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Being a loyal Laker fan of the 70's, I had to read this book on one of my favorite players. This in-depth book will not disappoint. The book does reveal alot that went on behind the scenes and not all of it is in a positive light.Still, Wilt was not just a great basketball player, he was a warm, genuine human being.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By N. Bilmes VINE VOICE on February 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Robert Cherry takes anecdotes from famous and regular people whose lives' intertwined with Wilt Chamberlain, and mixes them in with his narrative summary of the legend's life and statistics to form a biography that entertains while never sensationalizing. Anyone interested in the NBA or college basketball is going to find this book to be a captivating read.

Highly recommended, but be aware that the one thing the book lacks is a statistical record of Wilt's collegiate and NBA career.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pugwash on May 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
Wilt Chamberlain was an athlete of such massive proportion and such storied legend, that it is hard to imagine any biography can truly do his memory justice. This one tries hard.

His huge legacy on the basketball court is easy enough to recount. The holder of dozens of records when he retired, many of which still stand, his presence on the court was majestic. Yet this book explains the times well. How Wilt was criticized by the press, and booed by the fans at times early in his career. How, if it were difficult to be an African-American professional athlete in the 1960's, Wilt was as close to color blind, and opaque, as a human could be.

Wilt's frustration was often palpable during his career as he experienced near-miss World Championships again and again. Yet, in era when big men in basketball were never finer, competing against Bob Lanier, Bill Russell, Nate Thurmond, Zelmo Beatty and John Kerr, he stood high above every one. And, he was such a superstar, that he would often grow bored, and look to other sports to conquer. He was a track star at Kansas in the high hurdles, believed he could play football, and even challenged Muhammad Ali twice in fights that never came off.

Where the book succeeds is in trying to describe his outsized personality and his incredible humanity. easily, with Muhammad Ali, one of the most charismatic athletes of All time. His sense of style was unique, but Wilt made it his, whether on the court with the headband, or off with the bell-bottoms and sandals. His gentle size and tenderness came to the fore many times in this book, whether befriending challenged younger people, or terminally ill fans, or climbing in bed with his mother on her death bed and cradling her in his massive arms until she expired.
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