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UnWilted

NBA.com has a big-daddy tribute going to Wilt Chamberlain, as this would have been his 70th birthday. Well worth a look, especially for all the video, including:

  • Not only did Wilt Chamberlain still have a room at his parents' house well into his career, but Bill Russell says he took naps there.

  • Bill Bradley was almost a Wilt-stalker as a child: "When I was a little kid in the seventh and eighth grade and he was at Kansas, I kept a very elaborate scrapbook of Wilt Chamberlain and everything he ever did. I cut out pictures from Time magazine, Life magazine and Sports Illustrated. I kept a little log of all of his games when he was at Kansas and how many points he scored."

  • Wilt Chamberlain on his legacy: "I think I embodied what a big man was able to do."

Legendary Sixer statman Harvey Pollack has written a whole big tribute to Chamberlain. I once sat next to Pollack at dinner. I swear, he told me all of these same stories, and I have a feeling that if you sat next to him, he'd tell you the same stories too. They're great stories, though, like this one:

I went to a Boston-Warriors game in the Boston Garden and secretly kept track of the rebounds of both Wilt and Russell. When the game ended, I went to the press table and asked what the rebound totals were for Wilt and Russell. The response: "Russell 35, Wilt 22." My response, "Well my totals are Wilt 34, Russell 21." They sat open mouthed when I produced my evidence of the time and type of every rebound that each player had. A Sports Illustrated writer nearby heard the conversation and asked me what it was all about. I told him and the next week SI had a story about the incident. Wilt and I chuckled on reading it, but Red Auerbach didn't.

Bob Ryan offers this:

"People say it was the greatest individual rivalry they've ever seen," Russell says. "I agree with that. I have to laugh today. I'll turn on the TV and see the Knicks play the Lakers, and half the time Patrick [Ewing] isn't even guarding Shaq [O'Neal], and vice-versa. Let me assure you that if either Wilt's or Russ' coach had ever told one of them he couldn't guard the other guy, he would have lost that player forever!"