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 Wednesday, October 13
Reaction to a basketball legend's death
Associated Press

 Quotes about basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain, who died Tuesday at age 63:

"Wilt was one of the greatest ever, and we will never see another one like him."
-- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who broke Chamberlain's record to become the NBA's all-time leading scorer

"When I started to play with him, he helped make me a better player. We seemed to have a real good feel together, I think it translated into a confidence with him. All players are generally judged by the number of championships they won. Unfortunately, he only won two. His greatness as a basketball player can't be questioned. He was fun, we used to laugh at him a lot, some of the things that would happen. I once told him, no one roots for Goliath."
-- Jerry West, former teammate and current executive vice president of basketball operations with the Lakers

"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."
-- Denver Nuggets coach Dan Issel

"Obviously, he was both literally and figuratively a larger-than-life sports figure of the 20th century. He dominated his sport like almost no one else."
-- Atlanta Hawks president Stan Kasten

"He was the NBA. He was the guy on the top. Wilt was the guy you talked about -- he and Bill Russell. He was the most dominating center -- the best center to ever play in the NBA."
-- Former NBA center and Bulls coach Johnny "Red" Kerr, who played part of one season in Philly with Wilt and against him for six-plus years

"He was always a person that I viewed as being bigger than life in more ways than one. I had recently heard through friends and associates that he hadn't been feeling well, but again, I felt Wilt was a person who was able to overcome anything, so I was totally shocked to hear of his death."
-- Al Attles, a former teammate of Chamberlain's with the Warriors, now the team's vice president and assistant general manager

"Wilt Chamberlain had a great deal to do with the success of the NBA. His dominance, power, demeanor and the rivalry with Bill Russell says it all. He will be sorely missed by myself and everyone in the basketball community. Wilt was a great performer and a great athlete. When he was fresh out of high school, I worked with him, and I immediately recognized he would be a great professional player. He was a friend, and I will miss him."
-- Former Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach

"He was a terrific guy. It is a great loss to the sports world. Wilt Chamberlain had a special place in basketball history and he will be missed. We had many battles with Wilt. He was a fun guy to be around; he was a 'Gentle Giant.' "
-- Boston Celtics great and Basketball Hall of Fame member Tom Heinsohn

"I spent 12 years in his armpits, and I always carried that 100-point game on my shoulders. After I got my third foul, I said to one of the officials, Willy Smith, `Why don't you just give him 100 points and we'll all go home?' Well, we did."
-- Darrall Imhoff, who as a 6-foot-10 rookie center for the Knicks, guarded Chamberlain during his 100-point game

"We've lost a giant of a man in every sense of the word. The shadow of accomplishment he cast over our game is unlikely ever to be matched."
-- NBA commissioner David Stern

"It's a shock to all of us in the basketball community. This is a guy whose impact changed the rules of the game ... he changed the interior part of our basketball game."
-- Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson

"He was more inquisitive than anybody I ever knew. He was writing a screenplay about his life. He was interested in world affairs, sometimes he'd call me up late at night and discuss philosophy. I think he'll be remembered as a great man. He happened to make a living playing basketball but he was more than that. He could talk on any subject. He was a Goliath." -- Sy Goldberg, Chamberlain's longtime attorney

"He just was a wonderful person. He comes off one way, but he is truly a family-oriented person, a person who loves his friends and friends loved him. ... He is a person that will always be one of our favorite, favorite people. Not only because he was a great basketball player, but he was a great son, a great brother, a great uncle and he was just a nice, nice person." -- Chamberlain's sister, Barbara Lewis

"I did see him about four times a week -- big, strong, big smile. He always thought he could play still better than all the guys in the game could play. He is gone and I can't believe it." -- Announcer Chick Hearn, who broadcast all of Chamberlain's Lakers games

"The 76ers family is deeply saddened by the loss of not only one of our greatest players of all time, but by an incredible human being. We pass along our condolences to his family and join the millions of basketball fans around the world mourning this loss." -- Philadelphia 76ers owner Pat Croce

"Wilt was a tremendous individual, I really got to know him when I was coaching at UCLA. He spent a lot of time with the team. As far as basketball, he changed the way the game is played. This is a great loss." -- 76ers coach Larry Brown

"I feel sad. It is a sad day for the sport of basketball. We lost a legend. I was honored for him to say anything about me. It is a bad day for the sport. He was before my time, how couldn't I look up to him? For him to praise my game, that means something. I will cherish it." -- 76ers guard Allen Iverson

"I was shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt was one of the strongest players I have ever played against in my NBA career. He was one of the most talented players to play this game and a great person to know." -- Washington Wizards general manager Wes Unseld

"This is a sad day for the University of Kansas, and for everyone in basketball. Wilt was a giant not only in physical stature, but also his dominance of the game. It is really unfortunate to lose a man who had so much energy and enthusiasm at such a young age. His visit to the University of Kansas in 1998 was truly a special moment for Jayhawk fans everywhere." -- University of Kansas athletic director Dr. Bob Frederick

"We are all saddened and shocked to learn of Wilt's death. Just one year ago he was part of a group of retired Globetrotter players who attended Marques Haynes' enshrinment ceremony into the Hall of Fame. He was very proud of his Globtrotter background and spoke fondly of the great memories." -- Harlem Globetrotters owner and chairman Mannie Jackson


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