The man who slept with 20,000 women
Taken out of context, the anecdotes floating around about Wilt Chamberlain don’t make a whole lot of sense. Stories of a God-like player, bigger, stronger, and faster than everyone else. What he did on the court was legendary, but what he did off it was often more amazing.
Here are 16 true stories about Wilt Chamberlain:
"I remember he lifted me up with one arm like nothing. I remember Andre the Giant, professional wrestler he was a very good friend of mine, and Wilt Chamberlain and I both went out to dinner several times in Mexico City when we did the movie down there, the Conan Movie, and both of them would just pick me up over them, they were just joking about who could pick me up and make me look like lighter, like I was a fly, because they were so powerful." - Arnold Schwarzenegger(Image source: Reddit)
On March 2, 1962, Wilt scored 100 points against the Knicks, shooting 36 for 63 from the field and 28 of 32 from the foul line. It's an NBA record that will never be broken.(Image source: Wikipedia)
"I defy anyone to say they took change off the top of the backboard. I could. Someone would put a quarter up and I'd snatch it down." - Wilt Chamberlain(Image source: Totalprosports)
"I do remember a story about Wilt getting in a fight with Clyde Lovellette, a huge hulking guy who was infamous as a hatchet man in the 1950s and 60s (he was like the Laimbeer of 30 years earlier). Lovellette was hacking Wilt, elbowing him in the back etc. etc and finally Wilt said 'F*ck this' and cold-cocked Lovellette (6-9 and about 300) with one punch."(Image source: WIBW)
"Wilt had such unbelievable endurance and speed that, if he took off running, there wasn't any chance that anybody would keep up with him. He glided around the track and had the grace of a deer. I said to the coach, 'It might look like it helps us to chase him, but it may kill us because you can't catch someone who runs that fast.' After practice, he was the only one who wasn't tired. I never saw him tired." - Monte Johnson(Image source: Twitter)
"He stopped me dead in my tracks with his arm, hugged me and lifted me off the floor with my feet dangling. It scared the hell out of me. When I went to the free-throw line, my legs were still shaking. Wilt was the strongest guy and best athlete ever to play the game." - Former Celtics guard K.C. Jones(Image source: Twitter)
Several years after Wilt stopped playing, he toyed with the idea of a comeback. On the day he visited the Knicks' offices in Madison Square Garden, he talked to Red Holzman, then strode out to the elevator. When it opened, two deliverymen were struggling with a dolly piled high with boxes of office supplies, mostly letterheads and envelopes. The load was so heavy, the elevator had stopped maybe four inches below the floor level and now the deliverymen were huffing and puffing, but they couldn't raise the dolly high enough to get it on the floor level. After maybe two minutes of the deliverymen's huffing and puffing, Wilt, his biceps bulging in a tank top, peered down at them and intoned, "Gentlemen, maybe I can help." They stepped back, he stepped into the elevator, grabbed each end of the rope slung under the dolly and without much exertion, quickly lifted the dolly onto the floor level. Looking up in awe, the deliverymen said, "Thank you." Wilt said, "You're welcome." Wilt stepped into the elevator and rode down to the street level as another witness followed the two deliverymen toward the Knick offices and asked, "How much does all this weigh?" They quickly surveyed the stack of big boxes of office supplies. "Close to 600 pounds," one said.(Image source: Inside Hoops)
On a summer day in the early 1980s, when Brown was coaching at UCLA, Chamberlain showed up at Pauley Pavilion to take part in one of the high-octane pickup games that the arena constantly attracted. "Magic Johnson used to run the games and he called a couple of chintzy fouls and a goaltending on Wilt. So Wilt said, 'There will be no more layups in this gym,' and he blocked every shot after that. That's the truth, I saw it. He didn't let one [of Johnson's] shots get to the rim." - Former UCLA coach Larry Brown(Image source: Pinterest)
"When I was a freshman, I fooled around with shooting free throws this way: For some reason, I thought you had to stay within the top half of that free-throw circle, so I would step back to just inside the top of the circle, take off from behind the line and dunk. They outlawed that, but I wouldn't have done it in a game, anyway. I was a good free throw shooter in college." - Wilt Chamberlain(Image source: InsideHoops)
"One time, when I was with Boston and he was with the Lakers, Happy Hairston and I were about to get in a scrape. All of a sudden, I felt an enormous vise around me. I was 6-7, 235, and Wilt had picked me up and turned me around. He said, 'We're not going to have that stuff.' I said, 'Yes sir.'" - Paul Silas(Image source: Pinterest)
"When challenged, Wilt could do almost anything he wanted. In 1961 a new star named Walt Bellamy came into the league. Bellamy was 6-foot-10, and was scoring 30 points a game. First time they played against each other, they met at half court. Bellamy said, 'Hello, Mr. Chamberlain. I'm Walter Bellamy.' Chamberlain reached for Bellamy's hand and said, 'Hello, Walter. You won't get a shot off in the first half.' Wilt then blocked Bellamy's first nine shots. At the start of the second half Wilt said to Bellamy, 'Okay, Walter. Now you can play.'"(Image source: Alchetron)
"As I grew up, Wilt the Stilt was the player. Just the things he was able to do. I guess one year they told him he couldn't make as much money as he wanted because he couldn't pass the ball, so he went out and led the league in assists. Watching Wilt, you always kind of got the idea he was just playing with people. That he was on cruise control and still 10 times better than anybody else that was playing at that time." - Former Nuggets coach Dan Issel(Image source: NBA.com)
"On the trip to Russia with the Harlem Globetrotters, we were in Lenin Stadium, and they assigned a dressing room to the team. The players were getting dressed for one of their games. They were in rather close quarters. Remember, these were young kids - Wilt was 23. The others were his age. They were like kittens. You bump me, i'll bump you back. And before you know it, two of the guys set on Wilt. They started playfully pushing and shoving him. And finally one of his teammates hit Wilt a little too hard. He took these two guys, twisted each of their shirts, and lifted both of them off the ground. Each of these guys weighed over 200 pounds. It looked like he had two little crackers in his hands. I thought he was going to hit their heads together. It was an amazing demonstration of strength"(Image source: Harlem Globetrotters)
According to Rod Roddewig, a contemporary of Wilt's, the 20,000 number was created when he and Chamberlain were staying in Chamberlain's penthouse in Honolulu during the mid-1980s. He and Chamberlain stayed at the penthouse for 10 days, over the course of which he recorded everything on his Daytimer. For every time Chamberlain went to bed with a different girl he put a check in his daytimer. After those 10 days there were 23 checks in the book, which would be rate of 2.3 women per day. He divided that number in half, to be conservative and to correct for degrees of variation. He then multiplied that number by the number of days he had been alive at the time minus 15 years. That was how the 20,000 number came into existence.(Image source: The Big Lead)
"We played Oklahoma in basketball on a Friday night, here in Lawrence (Kansas), when Oklahoma had one helluva team. And they pounded the living daylights out of Wilt, just beat him to a pulp. I think he got 32 points. This was on a Friday, and the finals of the Big Seven indoor track championship were the next night in Kansas city in the Municipal Auditorium. Wilt goes in, and with a minimum of practice during the week -he had just been fiddling around - he sets a school record and ties for the Big Seven championship, jumping 6' 6 3/4." - Bill Mayer, managing editor of Lawrence Journal-World(Image source: IGN.com)
"It was Gus against Wilt. Gus went in to dunk, and Wilt caught the ball, threw Gus to the floor, and they had to take Gus off the floor with a dislocated shoulder." - Billy Cunningham via The Philadelphia Enquirer(Image source: ESPN)
Standing 7’1 and weighing 300 pounds by the end of his career, Wilt routinely did things unthinkable for anyone else in the league. He had a season where he averaged 50 points a game. Another season where averaged 27 rebounds per night.
There has never been a player like Wilt. Sadly, he succumbed to a heart condition in 1999 at the age of 63. No longer with us physically, his memories endure; his legacy etched into the sports lexicon as the greatest athlete we’ve ever seen.