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Wilt: Larger Than Life Hardcover – September 1, 2004
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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 centurys greatest and most controversial athletes.
Wilt: Larger than Life examines Chamberlains 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 Wilts 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 Wilts longtime lawyer, doctor, and accountant; many of Wilts 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 Chamberlains 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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Despite his, Chamberlain was branded a "loser," a label Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach worked hard to stick on Chamberlain. While the Bill Russell-led Celtics won 11 championships in 13 years, many fans and writers overlooked the fact that Russell's teammates had more talent than Wilt's teammates. As Wilt famously declared, "Nobody roots for Goliath."
Lakers teammate Jerry West said, "Wilt felt slighted, underappreciated and was often bitter." Chamberlain, a loner and a rebel, insisted that no one man could win a championship. It required a team effort.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said, "Wilt would be remembered as a whining crybaby and a quitter."
As a rookie in 1959-60, Wilt broke 8 NBA records while averaging 37.6 points and 27 rebounds a game. In his second season, he grabbed a record 55 rebounds in one game and in his third season, he scored 100 points in a game and averaged 50 points a game. Heavily criticized for his focus on individual stats and failure to win a title, Wilt gradually transitioned from a dominant scorer to a defensive presence and assist-maker. Of course, he was criticized for this, too.
Chamberlain often brought the criticism on himself and too many times he "disappeared" from games at critical times.
During his career, he averaged more than 20 points and 20 rebounds per game on 10 occasions. He was undoubtedly one of the most dominant players in the game and one of the most criticized.
Author Robert Cherry interviewed more than 150 people for the book and did extensive research. Besides his playing days, Cherry covers Wilt's growing up years and his retirement years. The result is a very insightful and entertaining biography.
Dipper dunk. From Walker.
Played many times on the courts at Tustin - then it was down the street for a cheesesteak at Larry's on the corner @ 60th and Lancaster. I played against a number of guys from the "Brook" and around the Public league. It was a great time to play basketball in Philly - both the Catholic and Public league had a hotbed of talent. I can actually say it was the best time of my life and consider myself very fortunate to have played against the best of the best at times. What a treat!
My 4 greatest athlete's of all time are as
followed: Jim Thorpe (All American), Jesse Owens, "WILT" and Bo Jackson but pound for pound I consider Wilt # 1.
In closing - just like to say - my name is Bobby McCabe - I'm retired and live in Palm Springs, Ca - that's a long way from the Brook and I'm sure I played in a pick up game against you back in the day. If your ever in the neighborhood give me a call.
(760)- 799-9443. Once again thanks for the book. I just gave it to Dr. Greenberg my Oncologist and UCLA grad - great ball handler and shooter in his youth.