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Boston Celtics center Bill Russell, the winningest player in the history of American pro team sports with eleven NBA championships through 1969, has died at age 88.

Russell will always be compared to his great rival Wilt Chamberlain, who racked up better scoring statistics (blocked shots weren’t recorded back then), but who won only two NBA titles. Although Russell was, by far, the greater team player, the easily bored Wilt was more interesting, I wrote in Taki’s Magazine in 2010:

… The Lakers have traditionally showcased superstars, from George Mikan, the NBA’s first big man in the 1940s, through Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal, to Kobe Bryant today. In contrast, the Celtics, at their best, have exemplified team play.

Before 1968-1969, for example, the Lakers augmented their Hall of Fame duo of Elgin Baylor and Jerry West with 7’1″ Wilt Chamberlain, the greatest offensive player of the era. In the 1969 finals, they encountered a dilapidated final rendition of the Celtics dynasty led by 6’9″ center Bill Russell, the greatest defensive player. The Celtics eked out a 108-106 seventh game victory for their eleventh title in Russell’s thirteen seasons.

That gave Russell a career record of 6-1 versus Chamberlain in playoff series. Thus, Russell was almost universally acknowledged then to be the better player. The changing celebrity of Chamberlain and Russell since then illustrate some of the workings of fame.

Today, Chamberlain’s gaudy individual statistics grasp the sport’s fan imagination, while Russell’s accomplishments as the finest team player ever are increasingly forgotten, although he’s still alive at 76. The Basketball Reference website, for instance, will sell you an ad on Russell’s page for half the going rate for Wilt’s page.

Chamberlain, who has been dead since 1999, has become part of American folklore. Wilt’s first name alone is enough to call to mind the statistics of which he boasted: the 100 points he scored in one game, the 50 points per game he scored for an entire season, and the 20,000 women he claimed to have scored with.

The ESPN columnist Bill Simmons, a Celtics partisan, repeatedly insinuates in his entertaining and often impressive Book of Basketball that Chamberlain’s most notorious statistic was an elaborate ruse to cover up that he was gay.

I doubt this. My guess is that Wilt was straight but not quite as prolific as he claimed. For example, with the Lakers, he had a regular girlfriend, a redheaded businesswoman who taught him recovery from injury via exercise in the swimming pool.

Her small-business Republicanism is why Wilt appeared onstage at the 1972 Republican National Convention with Richard Nixon and Sammy Davis Jr. I can vividly recall seeing the three together on-screen at the 1972 convention, but I can’t find a photo of them online. But it really happened: Nixon, Wilt, and Sammy.

How often was Wilt actually seen with a woman, he asks?

My impression is that their friends thought Wilt and the redhead should get married, and that while Wilt thought that was indeed a good idea in theory, he couldn’t stay away from 20-somethings, so it didn’t happen.

Personally, I saw the genial Goliath once during his growingly popular retirement. In 1981, he drove by on Ocean Boulevard in Santa Monica, shirtless in his purple Bentley convertible, majestically alone. While I have a hard time imagining that the world’s most conspicuous celebrity had a Secret Life in West Hollywood, America’s gossipiest neighborhood, I’m not sure I can conceive of Wilt displaying the stick-to-it-iveness required to rack up that number, either.

Chamberlain could be a great team player for a season or two, as during his two championship years of 1967 and 1972, but he bored rapidly. He kept himself amused with idiosyncratic challenges. Wilt was an enormous eccentric, priding himself on odd statistical feats such as being the only center to lead the league in assists and in never fouling out of a game.

There’s a reason beyond statistics why Chamberlain looms so much larger today. Russell treated winning at basketball with consuming seriousness. Chamberlain, who started his pro career with the Harlem Globetrotters, embraced and updated for the 1960s the circus freak show aspect of a game that gives such a ridiculous advantage to height. Wilt’s career always had a hint of Globetrotterish comic exhibitionism. Granted, he usually took himself fairly seriously. Yet, his perspective on life came from such a different angle that his legend has a Paul Bunyanesque tall-tale aspect.

Chamberlain’s life seems like one long absurdist performance art project on the theme of giganticness.

He publicly pondered an offer to box Muhammad Ali for the World Heavyweight Championship on July 26, 1971 in the Astrodome. He built a famous bachelor pad in the Hollywood Hills where every fixture was Wilt-sized. He towered over 5’3″ Sammy Davis Jr. on stage with Richard Nixon at the 1972 GOP convention during a tableaux of Celebrities for Nixon.

Chamberlain generated publicity for the NBA with everything he did. For example, both Russell and Chamberlain were terrible free throw shooters, shooting 56 percent and 51 percent, respectively. But I hadn’t realized Russell was so bad until I looked it up. In contrast, Chamberlain was a world famous awful free throw shooter. He submitted to countless interviews about his foul line “psychological block,” which, in that Freudian era, was catnip for the press.

Everybody had a suggestion! Wilt tried many of the goofy ideas, such shooting free throws underhanded. In 1971, he announced he must be too strong to shoot from merely 15 feet away, so he stood three feet behind the foul line and heaved up 18 footers, with as little success (42 percent) as you might expect. (I would guess that his problem was mostly that he found free throw-shooting practice tedious.)

Height is why Wilt wasn’t much interested in race, unlike Russell who became ever more militant as discrimination decreased. To Wilt, the human race was primarily divided by size, with himself on one side and everybody else on the other.

 
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  1. MEH 0910 says:


    [MORE]

  2. Well, Russell’s free-throw shooting was far less important to teams than Wilt’s. Russell was the defensive brick wall while other guys like Cousy were the scorers. Wilt, however, was the big scoring dude, so his bad free throw percentage made a bigger splash and bigger deal.

    E.g. no one cares what the pitcher’s batting average is unless it’s really good, but everyone cares what a DH or First baseman hits.

    Wilt was probably gay or at least bi. He also was probably using ‘roids during his career. He seemed like a “try anything” type of guy and probably sampled the unnatural acts of love in the more open 1960s and 70s. However, Elvira (the TV bad movie marathon chick) claims Wilt orally raped her.

    https://nypost.com/2021/09/21/elvira-reveals-sexuality-wilt-chamberlain-encounter-more/

    Wilt was also a classic sports bully. He would beat up on lesser opponents to pump his numbers up, but facing equal opponents he seldom rose to the occasion and usually, ahem, “wilted”—as he did against Russell. Wilt’s 100 points were against a hapless Knicks team. He’s in the same boat as Roger Clemens.

  3. @R.G. Camara

    The statistics of Russell and Chamberlain against each other were impressive, as if they really were the two best players in the NBA, just like everybody said they were, and rose to the occasion when they played each other.

    • Agree: TWS, David In TN
    • Thanks: Ron Mexico
  4. Boston Bantus
    Fixed it.

  5. “The ESPN columnist Bill Simmons, a Celtics partisan”

    That fact alone should prejudice his personal observation on Wilt’s private life. If Wilt had been on the Celtics, Simmons wouldn’t have commented. Also, it is a jealousy factor found in many ordinary men.

    Why is it so difficult to imagine that some men are alphas to the point of being able to rack up incredible stats in the bedroom with women? Wilt famously dissected how he arrived at his 20k number. If he ran through so many women per week, add up the total for the year, and then added the totals over a 20-30 yr span, it’s quite plausible. His personality seemed to be single minded on things that interested him. I think most people, including brainiacs, sports geeks, etc have clearly no idea about the private lives of most top 1% people within their chosen professions. Also, it’s important to remember that Wilt stuck to the 20k number throughout his life, never changing it during interviews. He never winked or stated “Yeah, I was just kidding back in the day when first asked”. He was consistent.

    World famous athletes share one important aspect in common with musicians: they both travel a whole bunch and thus have access to more women than most men. For instance, with all the touring they have done since their founding in the early ’60’s, does anyone question that the likes of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have had ample opportunity to score with women to the Nth degree? With people like Mick and Keith, 20k sounds like a low number, all things considered.

    It was the same way with Wilt. For most of his career, the press made a point not to delve into a player’s private life, and yet they were certainly aware of what went on behind closed doors. It’s actually hypocritical of sportswriters such as Simmons as well as intelligence-insulting that he would declare with a straight face that such players as Wilt Chamberlain didn’t score very much with women.

    Again, if one does the math with either pro athletes or world famous musicians, and one would see that it is certainly possible if not plausible if stretched over a 25-30 yr career. And in the case of the Rolling Stones, they’ve been world famous for nearly 60 yrs. (ex. a world famous band tours 150-200 days per year in their prime, runs thru about 2-4 different women each day, which includes another 1-2 different women on the non-touring days, over a 25-30, or 35 yr span, and 20k for one’s lifetime becomes quite plausible indeed. Especially in the case of rockstars such as Jagger and Richards.

    The Russell vs Wilt rivalry has parallels with MLB’s Williams vs DiMaggio rivalry, with Williams playing in 1 WS (and losing), and DiMaggio playing in 9 WS (and winning 8).
    Williams, for the most part, had the gaudier offensive stats, but DiMaggio was a better all around player and a superior teammate. Ironically, DiMaggio’s fame only increased after his retirement, while Williams largely faded (except among diehard MLB fans).

  6. As a Boston native, my greatest sports and celebrity memory wasn’t meeting Bill Russell, who wouldn’t give fans anything but a stony glare. But meeting Wilt Chamberlain after a game at the Old Boston Garden in 1967 as a 7 year old. In those days walk up tickets were available an hour before the game at the box office. I was with my uncle and an older cousin, both of them visiting from Ireland. I walked down with them to the visitor’s locker room. The 76ers came off the floor and there was Wilt big as a windmill. We waited near the visitor’s locker room and my cousin struck up a conversation with a 76er trainer. He explained that his father was visiting from Ireland and he would love to meet Wilt. Fifteen minutes later Wilt comes out and shakes all our hands and we take a picture. I can’t complain about Wilt. On the other hand, in those days and subsequently ,Russell was well known for slamming Boston as a racist town because of a burglary, vandalism and racist slurs, as well as feces left in his bed, at his house in Reading, MA just north of Boston. Still, in that era I would have picked Russell over Wilt, due to Russell’s insane will to win and as a team player.

    • Replies: @David In TN
  7. @Steve Sailer

    Very similar to the Johnson vs Bird rivalry of the ’80’s, E.J. the Deejay vs the Hick from French Lick.

  8. SFG II says:

    Thus, Russell was almost universally acknowledged then to be the better player. The changing celebrity of Chamberlain and Russell since then illustrate some of the workings of fame.

    Yep, even Russell’s R.I.P. article at iSteve is dominated by stories of his friend Chamberlain.

  9. sfg II says:
    @R.G. Camara

    Chamberlain, on advice from Rick Barry, switched to an underarm free throw technique. It significantly improved his statistics, and was used by him during the 100 point game, but he decided to switch back to the more common technique.

    His explanation:

    “I felt silly, like a sissy, shooting underhanded. I know I was wrong. I know some of the best foul shooters in history shot that way. Even now the best one in the NBA, Rick Barry, shoots underhanded. I just couldn’t do it.”

  10. Judging by their interviews both men seemed more intelligent than the average athlete.

  11. Mike Tre says:

    In 1997 I worked out at the Mid Valley Athletic Club in Reseda, where Wilt was its poster boy. He was in there often working out, and during the Bull’s final championship run that spring I would overhear him talking down about the Bulls constantly. His back was bad and he leaned way forward when he stood or walked.

    The most interesting thing about him though, was that he drove an old beat up Dodge work van to the place.

    He was either clearly broke, or the phone in the Bentley was busted.

  12. @Steve Sailer

    I didn’t realize that the playoff head to head was as competitive as it turned out. Other than FTs in both regular season and playoffs, Wilt was far more dominant. https://stathead.com/basketball/h2h_finder.cgi

  13. Woodsie says:

    Is that Mr Smith from the Matrix with Nixon and Wilt?

  14. mousey says:

    Wilt mastered the hook shot. It was indefensible.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @duncsbaby
  15. Poor Bill.
    Russell died. Quick! Attach an old column about Wilt.

    • LOL: Bardon Kaldian
    • Replies: @AnotherDad
    , @duncsbaby
  16. @R.G. Camara

    He’s in the same boat as Roger Clemens.

    Did he ever do anything as disgusting as Clemens’ attempt to injure Mike Piazza by throwing a broken bat at him in the 2000 World Series?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  17. I read somewhere that Wilt was a devoted Randite (which could explain his consummate individualism) and that he spent some time at the Rand Institute in SoCal.

    Steve? Any knowledge of this?

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  18. I received the Book of Basketball as a Christmas present when it first came out, and while perhaps some of Simmons’ more adult content was properly above my grade level, ever since then, I have essentially considered Wilt’s homosexuality a rebuttable presumption.

    Steve Sailer‘s anecdote that he had a red headed girlfriend fifty years ago is sufficiently credible to reverse that polarity, however.

    RIP Bill Russell, who Simmons also convinced me was the second-greatest basketball player of all time (behind Jordan).

  19. I seem to remember Wilt suggesting becoming an NFL wide receiver, with the Kansas City Chiefs. This would have been about the same time frame as his offer to box Muhammad Ali.
    Anyone else share this memory? None of my age cohort sports fan friends do, so maybe I imagined the whole thing?

    • Replies: @David In TN
  20. BB753 says:
    @R.G. Camara

    “When a 7-foot-1, 300-pound man has his hand wrapped around your neck, there’s really not a lot you can do,” she writes of the athlete, who boasted in his 1991 memoir “A View From Above” that he had slept with 20,000 women in his lifetime.

    “I had to wonder how many of those women actually consented to having sex with him,” writes Peterson.”

    But dear Elvira, you had his penis in your mouth! There’s a lot you can do to extricate yourself from that situation if you’re smart.

  21. Trinity says:

    Russell, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and infamous woman abuser, Jim Brown came across as spoiled, privileged, hypocritical racists while Ali was more genuine. All these guys including Ali, had their asses kissed by White America for most of their lives. Jim Brown even played the very White sport of lacrosse, he sure didn’t pick that sport up hanging around Blacks in the hood. Instead of chasing White women, it was said Ali would sometimes bed some very homely Black women to the amazement of the around him.

    Remember watching a video on YouTube with the former governor of Georgia, Lester Maddox debating Jim Brown on the old Dick Cavett Show. Maddox made Brown and Nebraska born Cavett and their stacked leftist audience look like the true idiots they are when it comes to race realism. Incidentally there is an allegation that Brown brutally abused a Black playboy bunny at scumbag Hugh Heffner’s mansion back in the day.

    • Replies: @Truth
  22. Chriscom says:

    Basketball fans know, but others may be surprised to learn that Wilt’s 100-point game took place–against the Philadelphia Warriors–in little Hershey, Pa. Even littler in 1962.

    Me, I’m from Boston, always a Russell guy.

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
  23. Trinity says:

    Only in America can a 6’6″ man become a billionaire by putting a round ball in a hoop that is only 10 feet above the ground.

    Only in America can an overweight, unattractive, talentless, Black girl born in “racist” Mississippi become a billionaire by sitting on a couch and talking to people.

    Compare the salaries of people who save lives like heart surgeons, the amount of training and schooling, responsibility, etc., to basketball buffoons like Michael Jordan and talentless racist Oprah Winfrey.

    • Agree: Pop Warner
    • Replies: @Truth
    , @Recently Based
  24. Toward the end of his life Chamberlain is said to have remarked that sleeping with 20,000 women was not as rewarding as he expected, and that in retrospect it would have been better to sleep with one woman 20,000 times.

    On a lighter note, Chamberlain remarked about Russell “the man’s greedy. He’s got more rings than he has fingers.

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
    , @AnotherDad
  25. artqfrank says:

    When I was growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, my Cincinnati Royals NBA team had some great players: Oscar Robertson, Jerry Lucas and Jack Twyman are all in the Hall of Fame. But those teams never made the NBA Finals because they could never beat Russell’s Celtics in the playoffs. The Royals lost to Boston in the playoffs in 1963, 1964 and 1966, as Russell’s shot-blocking and rebounding stifled the Royals offense. Against Russell, even the great rebounding forward Jerry Lucas got hardly any offensive rebounds.

    • Replies: @Trinity
    , @Pop Warner
  26. Trinity says:

    Soul Brother Number One, James Brown, also backed Nixon.

    Cue: Payback by James Brown

  27. Dmitri says:

    I remember Wilt on the Password game show in the 1970’s. The mystery word was “welding” and he came up with the clues “TIG” and “MIG”. Can’t say how effective the clues were, but the man knew his welding. Alan Ludden noted he was a “very learned man”

  28. Trinity says:
    @artqfrank

    Cincy, Kansas City and Baltimore should have been awarded NBA franchises over places like OKC for sure. All 3 cities sported relatively successful NBA teams in the past.

    I grew up with Wes Unseld vs. Willis Reed and Earl Monroe vs Walt Frazier instead of Wilt vs. Bill.

  29. JackOH says:

    I don’t follow b-ball, but I recall Bill Russell, Wilt the Stilt, the Big “O”, and favorably, too. They were exemplary athletes, and well-recognized and quirky American public figures, too.

    We–and I–bang on here about America’s misguided civil rights legislation and its sequelae. Rightly so, too. At the end of the day, our Black Americans are our fellow citizens. and they deserve a fair shake. A fair shake, yes, and no more than that.

    • Replies: @Prester John
  30. Russ says:

    … the athlete, who boasted in his 1991 memoir “A View From Above” that he had slept with 20,000 women in his lifetime.

    To mark the passing of Vin Scully, the Poet Laureate of baseball, permit me to relay an after-dinner event quote by Jack Buck (the favorite broadcaster of fans who didn’t believe that baseball needed a poet laureate):

    “Wilt Chamberlain just revealed to the world that he slept with 20,000 women. I don’t think I have done that many pushups!”

  31. @Mr. Peabody

    Poor Bill.
    Russell died. Quick! Attach an old column about Wilt.

    Steve’s an LA guy. And Vin Scully doesn’t die every day.

  32. Wilt’s height, 7’1″ = 85″. Average woman’s height in 1960’s-70’s, 5’3″ = 63″.

    Front to front sex, split the difference, puts his head 11 inches above hers. If he were on top she would not even be visible beneath him. Plus, he would outweigh her by 150 pounds.

    Does this sound like fun ladies?

    times 20,000?

    I, for one, am not buying it.

    Even a one foot difference in height is inconvenient. Wilt may have done something with these women, but it’s not what many of us think of when we hear the word “sex”.

  33. Height is why Wilt wasn’t much interested in race, unlike Russell who became ever more militant as discrimination decreased.

    At the very end, you got to Russell–and the more general American/HBD angle.

    Bill Russell excelled in the very teamish Boston Celtic system–very mid-20 century, very white-bread, mass-uplift, War winning America.

    Then went only to become increasingly racially militant and whiny–while marrying a string of stupid white women–as actual discrimination crumbled, in the new minoritarian American.

    When you look back at those various picks of Sammy and Wilt and Nixon, it’s a reminder of how racial antagonisms actually seemed to be lower–and on the wane–back in the bad old days.

    But then it turns out–HBD–that ending discrimination while making things much better for blacks, doesn’t actually create equality. While minoritarianism blames insidious oppressive dark white forces as the cause of all evil, all failure, all inequality. And racial relations instead of getting better, get worse.

    That’s the arc of Bill Russell and post-Celtics America: HBD blocked the black man’s shot. Minoritarianism–whitey to blame.

    • Replies: @AnotherDad
  34. Anon[820] • Disclaimer says:

    Wilt Chamberlain also gets mentioned in academia.

    In Anarchy, State, and Utopia, libertarian Robert Nozick employs his famous Wilt Chamberlain thought experiment to argue against what he calls “patterned” views of distributive justice. The thought experiment is intended to demonstrate that liberty inevitably upsets patterns of distribution, such as equal incomes. Individuals such as Wilt Chamberlain get rich because millions of individuals freely interact with him.

  35. @artqfrank

    The Celtics just dominated the 60s even greater than the Bulls dominated the 90s. Russell’s Celtics won championships in all but two seasons of his career.
    Fortunately for Robertson, he won a title with a young Lew Alcindor on the Bucks after Russell gracefully retired and allowed other teams a chance.

  36. MEH 0910 says:
    @Sgt. Joe Friday


    [MORE]

  37. Truth says:
    @Trinity

    . Jim Brown even played the very White sport of lacrosse,

    You mean the very feather-Indian sport of lacrosse.

    I saw Wilt one time in my tenure in L.A. He was waiting for his Rolls-Royce outside of a nightclub, at 2 AM, with two very attractive, very tall, very young white models.

    • Replies: @Trinity
  38. Truth says:
    @Trinity

    That’s life Old Sport, only in America can a spoiled, rude, uncultured, uneducated, boor become POTUS, do absolutely nothing for his base, then lose the election and whine about it for four years, while preparing himself for another run.

  39. the level of play was so bad. fortunately with youtube i don’t need to have as many stupid arguments with the Bill James type experts in various sports. Wilt even commented to that effect early in his career, that track and football and baseball were real sports, and hoops wasn’t. he wasn’t wrong, at the time.

    i wonder what Wilt’s block numbers were. or George Mikan’s for that matter. i saw a deep dive report where sports stats nerds went back and counted by hand all of Wilt’s blocks in over 100 video recordings of his games. he averaged over 8 blocks in that study. Mark Eaton was even better, so i figure he would have averaged over 10 blocks per game back in those days. absolutely crushing the sucky guard players of the day.

    sports stats guys also went back and counted up by hand all the sacks that NFL defenders made before sacks were a stat, and 2 guys had racked up awesome numbers, Deacon Jones and Jack Youngblood. 170 and 150 career sacks respectively.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  40. @AnotherDad

    That’s the arc of Bill Russell and post-Celtics America: HBD blocked the black man’s shot. Minoritarianism–whitey to blame.

    Ok I blew the obvious analogy there. Let’s try:

    That’s the arc of Bill Russell and post-Celtics America:
    HBD kept blacks from scoring like whites.
    Minoritarianism–whitey blocked your shot!

    The deal is HBD is just there–part of nature. Toxic minoritarian lying is a choice.


  41. contrary to myth, there was actually less team play 50 to 60 years ago back in the old days, with tons of sucky guards making random Leroy Jenkins style charges down the court towards the other basket, only to lose the ball in wild turnovers. widely reviled iso ball from star guard players the 90s and 00s was actually more effective, though it also wasn’t the optimum play most of the time.

    in some of Russell’s 1960s championship games against the Lakers the level of play is atrocious. Jerry West is pure garbage. some of his late game free throw misses would get him laughed out of a high school game now. recently JJ Redick bashed the old time players, saying Bob Cousy played against firemen and plumbers. he was not wrong. NBA was a new league at the time and lots of the players didn’t make enough to not have real jobs in the offseason. and they sucked at hoops in season, too. early era MLS players were about the same. very comparable levels of play and pay.

  42. @Sgt. Joe Friday

    Toward the end of his life Chamberlain is said to have remarked that sleeping with 20,000 women was not as rewarding as he expected, and that in retrospect it would have been better to sleep with one woman 20,000 times.

    The outstanding question with regard to Wilt is “where are all the little Wilts?”

    Yeah, he didn’t marry. But let’s round down by an order of magnitude and say 2000 women. The were all on birth control or carefully monitoring their cycle? LOL. (Actually, when they are fertile is when they get extra frisky.)

    Where are all the little Wilts?

    • Replies: @Pop Warner
  43. @prime noticer

    Thanks. That the NBA didn’t count blocks and steals until 1974 suggests that it was a pretty immature game well into living memory.

    • Replies: @David In TN
  44. Trinity says:
    @Truth

    I “likeded” Wilt, old friend, why would I care if he had 2 attractive paid “escorts.” Face it, Troof, any dude becomes attractive to women if they are famous and/or rich. And it isn’t a racial thing, Old Sport, what girl in her right mind would find Mick Jagger attractive? Jagger and Don Knotts look like brothers.

    Jim Brown? Kareem? Two major league assholes imo. Wilt? Seemed pretty cool imo.

    And I know about the origin of lacrosse, Old Sport, I am originally from Maryland. Go Terps.

  45. Wilt’s porno-promo stuff is worthless, although perhaps interesting for the prurient. I think Fidel Castro is said to have slept with more than 30,000 women- but he was a dictator, so there certainly was an element of coercion. Mussolini slept with tons of Italian women, but they were chasing him & he didn’t keep the records. Napoleon, although he did have a love life, didn’t waste too much energy on carnal matters.

    Casanova, the archetypal lover and sex machine, slept with ca. 120 women. Great Romantic erotic types (Liszt, Balzac, Hugo, Pushkin, Byron, Paganini,…) had much more developed erotic lives, but these were mostly with high-quality & beautiful aristocratic women, far beyond anything Castro or Wilt (if it’s real) could have imagined & achieved.
    Also- they were erotic gourmands, extracting much more physical and emotional pleasure from the best quality females, while poor Wilt remained on a female Hamburger diet – too much trashy material.

    I don’t believe that Wilt was gay, there is no serious proof of that & it seems to me like a revenge of whites to denigrate him because he slept with many white knuckleheads, which hurts “white pride”. What could be real, although there is just one contrary instance, is that Wilt could have been sterile.

    Enough with sex & innuendos.

    Chamberlain was an entertainer (that’s what athletes do) & people like flamboyant, excessive, unpredictable & frequently clownish behavior of celebrities. That’s why Ali was more popular than the other boxers. Russel may have been a better player, but he lacked “me-the-greatest-star” mentality & behavior.

    Someone commented that these clowns are much more recognized than people who have really fundamentally changed the world. Well- of course. Watson & Crick have changed the world enormously; Schroedinger, Dirac, Bardeen, Shockley even more.

    But the general public reads TMZ. The public loves entertainers & clowns and is clueless about titans who turned global civilization upside-down.

    • Thanks: ic1000
    • Replies: @Ed Case
    , @Prester John
  46. @Steve Sailer

    This brings back memories of the NBA Game of the Week on Sunday afternoons in the 60s. They had the Celtics on as often as possible. Best of all was Chamberlain vs Russell. It was a kind of epic confrontation.

    When Chamberlain blocked a shot, he leapt high and swatted the ball back toward midcourt or out of bounds. When Russell blocked a shot he he didn’t hit it hard but guided it to a Celtic and the fast break started. Russel also made an excellent outlet pass starting the break after getting the rebound.

    Both Chamberlain and Russell were expert at being in the right place for defensive rebounds. They could tell by the flight of the ball when shot were it would go off the rim or backboard.

  47. @Hank Archer

    I remember Hank Stram bringing up the idea of Wilt Chamberlain trying out with the Kansas City Chiefs. Wilt indicated his interest.

    A little later Stram signed 6-10 Morris Stroud, whose chief assignment was standing under the goal posts and trying to block field goals. Stroud was called “Hank Stram’s folly.”

    • Replies: @Hank Archer
  48. Anonymous[418] • Disclaimer says:
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    “I thought it was the ball!”

  49. anonymous[365] • Disclaimer says:
    @mousey

    What makes you think Wilt “mastered” the hook? Actually, he was well-known for taking a fall-away shot because his hook was unreliable. With the hook, Wilt was basically Roger Repoz (known as the king of the foul-ball home run). Jeez.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Trinity
  50. @anonymous

    Wilt didn’t have outstanding eye-hand coordination. Kareem was a far superior offensive force.

    • Replies: @David In TN
  51. @Steve Sailer

    Per a previous comment I watched the NBA on TV in the 60s. Scoring points was the stat that received the attention.

  52. @Steve Sailer

    Yes, the fall-away was what Wilt used when he averaged 50 points a game. In his last years when he didn’t dunk, Wilt had a finger-roll shot, fun to watch.

    Abdul-Jabbar was a better shooter, more varied. Chamberlain had more rebounds and blocked shots.

  53. Trinity says:
    @anonymous

    Damn, who would have thunk that the name Roger Repoz would appear on a thread in the year 2022. I was not an Angels fan nor do I know much about Roger other than I have a cool looking baseball card of him. Topps 1971 version of Repoz in an action shot. Where is Clyde Wright these days? Alex Johnson?

    • Replies: @Prester John
    , @anonymous
  54. @David In TN

    So maybe I’m not completely crazy.

  55. Beach Jim says:

    Wilt Chamberlain was a jerk!

    This is based on my sole childhood interaction with him. I was wandering near the pier in Manhattan Beach looking at all the costumes of the 6-man volleyball teams for the local Manhattan Open when my buddy spotted Wilt’s team. After their game my buddy walked up to Wilt to say something to him. I couldn’t hear what he said, but Wilt turned towards me and pushed me down into the sand and walked on by. I picked myself up and called him a fag. He turned around and I got scared (he was huge). He then turned back around and walked away.

    Ironically, that night the Lakers were playing at the Fabulous Forum and my grandfather, a season ticket holder, had invited me to go along with his cronies. We started the evening at the Cockatoo Inn https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cockatoo_Inn). I still remember being allowed to sit at the bar with my grandfather and his friends because he knew Mr. Lococo. We then caught the shuttle the Cockatoo offered over to the Forum. We saw the game and after we went into the Forum Club so my grandfather and his pals could have a few more drinks. My grandfather was three sheets to the wind at this point and I remember Julius Erving coming into the club and my grandfather telling him, “Hey Doc! You aren’t that great…” (the Lakers beat the Sixers that night). I remember being very embarrassed, but Dr. J was extremely polite and said something to the effect of, “We’ll get you guys next time.” I walked over to him and apologized to Mr. Erving for my grandfather, and he leaned over and said quietly to me, “It’s no problem. You take care of your grandpa and get him home safely.” I was somewhere between 8 and 10 years old when this took place. I think about the different interaction I had in the same day with Wilt Chamberlain and Julius Erving every once in a while. Then I catch a glimpse of the current stable of NBA players and envision my elderly grandfather getting laid out by one of the modern players for mouthing off to them, instead of Dr. J’s taking it in stride attitude. Different times.

    By the way, that 6-man volleyball tournament where I was pushed by Wilt still takes place every year. If any of you guys live close (I know Steve lives in the Valley…close enough for a visit) you should check it out. It’s actually going to be played this weekend…https://www.manhattanbeach.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/beach-volleyball/charlie-saikley-6-man-beach-volleyball-tournament

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
  56. @AnotherDad

    There was a Sports Illustrated cover story about an alleged son of Wilt born to some white woman in San Francisco and adopted by a well-off Jewish family. The resemblance was very close and the son’s height was pretty significant, but the son was more into theater and men than sports and women like his old man. Wilt’s family (sisters) refused to acknowledge the kid

  57. duncsbaby says:
    @mousey

    Kareem Abdul-Jabar mastered the hook shot.

  58. duncsbaby says:
    @Mr. Peabody

    Although that is a good column.

  59. @Chriscom

    Basketball fans know, but others may be surprised to learn that Wilt’s 100-point game took place–against the Philadelphia Warriors–in little Hershey, Pa. Even littler in 1962.

    Nobody knows that mostly cause it aint so. Wilt played for the Warriors against the Knicks when he scored the 100 points in Hershey.

    • Agree: ScarletNumber
  60. @Beach Jim

    After their game my buddy walked up to Wilt to say something to him. I couldn’t hear what he said, but Wilt turned towards me and pushed me down into the sand and walked on by. I picked myself up and called him a fag.

    What your buddy told Wilt was “Mr. Chamberlain, I’d consider it a personal favor if you pushed my friend into the sand. I’m tired of him saying you’re a fag.”

  61. Ed Case says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    How about the Bruce Lee movie where he fights a different guy on each level of a building?
    That was pretty Fruity, and Wilt was one of Lee’s conquests.

    • LOL: Bardon Kaldian
    • Replies: @Trinity
    , @Truth
  62. MEH 0910 says:
    @Pop Warner

    https://www.si.com/nba/2015/03/03/wilt-chamberlain-aaron-levi-a-giant-shadow-son-secret

    Wilt Chamberlain’s Biggest Secret | Sports Illustrated

    Mar 4, 2015

    In his quest to locate his biological parents, adoptee Aaron Levi discovered his father may have been one of the most transcendent athletes of the 20th century, Wilt Chamberlain.

    • Thanks: Pop Warner
  63. AceDeuce says:

    My my, the Schoolmarm didn’t like my first post. Oh well.

    However, I humbly return to state simply that it is hilarious to hear of Mr. civil rights black man Bill Russell being lionized without any mention of his heavy investments in, and heavy profit taking from, Liberian rubber plantations.

    The Liberian plantations, as a whole, have long been sore spot among actual civil/human rights groups for the horrible treatment of the native blacks who work there.

    “Slavery ain’t dead, it’s manufactured in Liberia’s rubber” (2007)

    https://laborrights.org/in-the-news/slavery-ain%E2%80%99t-dead-it%E2%80%99s-manufactured-liberia%E2%80%99s-rubber

    “Labour group sues Bridgestone on Liberia rubber plantation.” (2005)

    https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/latest-news/labour-group-sues-bridgestone-on-liberia-rubber-plantation/

    FTA:

    “The International Labor Rights Fund [ILRF] on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit in the United States alleging workers at Bridgestone Corp.’s Firestone rubber plantation in Liberia toil in virtual slavery. Firestone…relies on a poverty stricken and often illiterate work force to tap tons of raw latex…using…methods that expose them to dangerous pesticides and fertilizers, the group said. ”

  64. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    20K / 25 / 365 > 2 women per day. Every day, 365 days per year for 25 straight years. No time off for sick days. And zero repeats (ie, his redhead girlfriend only counts as one, even if he screwed her on the reg for years while doing tons of outside chicks).

    It’s not physically impossible — and would be helped if you went to a lot of orgies where you could bone like 10 women in one night or whatever — but I’m pretty skeptical.

  65. @Trinity

    Three of the 5 highest-paid athletes in the world are not American, and don’t play football, baseball or basketball: Messi (Argentina), Ronaldo (Portugal), and Neymar (Brazil).

  66. @Bardon Kaldian

    As one of the individuals to whom you referred–Liszt– is supposed to have said: “People love trash.”

    • Agree: Bardon Kaldian
  67. @JackOH

    Not sure about the The Big O being “quirky.” He always struck me as a guy who went about his business and then went home to his wife and kiddies. If anything, he could be labeled with the derogatory “Oreo Cookie” stereotype.

  68. @snootybaronet

    Russell may have mellowed in old age. My brother knows someone who was at a college basketball tournament some years ago.

    He saw an elderly tall black man sitting in near empty bleachers before the game and recognized him as Bill Russell. He went over and struck up a conversation and Russell was friendly. His impression was Russell was happy someone remembered him.

  69. @Prester John

    I read somewhere that Wilt was a devoted Randite (which could explain his consummate individualism) and that he spent some time at the Rand Institute in SoCal.

  70. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    DiMaggio’s fame only increased after his retirement, while Williams largely faded (except among diehard MLB fans)

    Nobody ever wrote a song about Ted Williams, and Newell never asked Ted Williams to endorse their brand-new invention, the automatic-drip coffee maker.

    • Replies: @AceDeuce
    , @Steve Sailer
  71. @Pop Warner

    Yeah, doing a quick binging around I saw that yesterday and gave it a quick skim. Betting, I’d guess that is a “little wilt”. Still just one? With a guy doing all that shooting?

  72. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    If he ran through so many women per week, add up the total for the year, and then added the totals over a 20-30 yr span, it’s quite plausible

    If he had sex with a new woman every single day, including Christmas, days he was sick, days they were traveling, etc for thirty years he would have had sex with 10,950 women. Throw in another 8 days or so depending on how many leaps years occurred in that thirty year span and he’s still more than 9,000 women short of 20,000. So no, its not plausible.

  73. AceDeuce says:
    @ScarletNumber

    Nobody ever wrote a song about Ted Williams, and Newell never asked Ted Williams to endorse their brand-new invention, the automatic-drip coffee maker.

    Well, among other things, Williams was the face of Sears sporting goods for many years. He even mentioned that some (thankfully not many) young people that he met in the 1970s knew him only through his presence in the Sears catalog–something akin to only knowing Paul McCartney from his stint with Wings.

    As for the song (The S+G song–I know DiMag also had an obscure novelty song written about him in the early 1940s), Paul Simon said that he mainly picked DiMaggio for the song not just because of his great career, or the period in which he played, but primarily because of the perfect length and rhythm of his name in relation to the lyric in question.

    “Where have you gone, Babe Ruth?” or Ted Williams, or Stan Musial, wouldn’t work (Though interestingly, to my mind “Where have you gone, Jackie Robinson?” would work perfectly lyrically as well as score major woke points–thank God for “Mrs. Robinson” being part of the song and movie by coincidence so Simon couldn’t have used it and make it sound good.

    Luck and chance play a big part in things.

    The song “One For My Baby”, which Johnny Mercer wrote at the bar at legendary NYC watering hole P.J. Clarke’s, includes the immortal lines where the protagonist tells his bartender “So, set ’em up, Joe/ I gotta little story/I think you should know.”

    Legend has it that Mercer supposedly half jokingly/half-seriously apologized to his favorite barkeep at Clarke’s for not immortalizing him in the song.

    “Sorry, Howard– I just couldn’t make it work.”

  74. Trinity says:
    @Ed Case

    That was Kareem Abdul Jabbar, not Wilt. Wilt played in the Conan sequel starring Arnold.

    • Thanks: Ed Case
  75. Truth says:
    @Ed Case

    Wilt mastered the hook shot. It was indefensible.

    How about the Bruce Lee movie where he fights a different guy on each level of a building?
    That was pretty Fruity, and Wilt was one of Lee’s conquests.

    OK, I’m speechless.

    • LOL: kaganovitch
    • Replies: @Ed Case
  76. only knowing Paul McCartney from his stint with Wings

    Homer Simpson was upset when Paul left Wings because “he was the best one”.

    thank God for “Mrs. Robinson” being part of the song and movie by coincidence so Simon couldn’t have used it and make it sound good

    Good point, having two Robinsons in the song would have been confusing, plus Jackie didn’t have a cool nickname like “Joltin’ Joe”. I suppose he could have used Christy Mathewson, who primarily played in New York as well, as did Rickey Henderson for a few years if you wanted to update the song.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @AceDeuce
  77. @ScarletNumber

    When I was 9, I assumed the Mrs. Robinson in the Joltin’ Joe has gone away song was Jackie Robinson’s widow Rachel, who turned 100 last month.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  78. @ScarletNumber

    I probably see Ted Williams’ name more than Joe DiMaggio’s these days. The statistics revolution has been very kind to Ted Williams’ legend.

    DiMaggio’s stats aren’t so good, in part because he was peculiarly ill-suited to hitting in Yankee Stadium, so much of his legend come from the worship of fans of opposing teams, whom he beat like a drum on the road.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  79. @Steve Sailer

    If Rachel can make it another three months, she will have been a widow for 50 years. There are some Civil War brides who have lasted longer, but those tended to be young brides who married old veterans for their pensions. Jackie and Rachel was an age appropriate marriage.

    Ethel Kennedy, of course, has been a widow since June 6, 1968, but Bobby did not die of natural causes. Sirhan Sirhan is still alive at 78 and is still a guest of the state of California residing in San Diego County.

  80. @Steve Sailer

    I live in New Jersey so here Joe is still the legend. But you are correct that Sabermetrics have given the edge to Ted. Joe was hindered by playing his first three years in the Pacific Coast League for the San Francisco Seals, since those stats don’t count toward his MLB totals.

    On May 15, 1941, Ted started a 23-game hitting streak, his career long, raising his average from .339 to .431. This included a 4-for-5 performance off of Marius Russo of the Yankees on May 25. Amazingly, Joe DiMaggio started HIS hitting streak on the same day, raising his average from .306 to .375.

  81. Ed Case says:
    @Truth

    Apparently it was Lew Alcindor.
    Still fruity, though Wilt is in the clear.

  82. Trinity says:

    What was the only NBA team to make the playoffs for the entire decade of the 1970s?
    A. Lakers
    B. Celtics
    C. Knicks
    D. Bullets

    Answer: D

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  83. anonymous[365] • Disclaimer says:
    @Trinity

    Here’s an unlikely story from Baseball-Reference:

    “That year (’75), Repoz, teammate Charlie Manuel, and Clyde Wright of the Yomiuri Giants were involved in an altercation with members of the East German men’s Olympic hockey team at a Tokyo disco.”

  84. AceDeuce says:
    @ScarletNumber

    I suppose he could have used Christy Mathewson, who primarily played in New York as well, as did Rickey Henderson for a few years if you wanted to update the song.

    Where have you gone, Rickey Henderson?

    It works structurally. Trouble is, nobody gives a schitt for where Rickey Henderson might have gone.

    • LOL: ScarletNumber
  85. @Trinity

    This is a very good trivia question, as most wouldn’t realize how consistently good the Bullets were back then. In the 12-year stretch from 1968 through 1980, they indeed made the playoffs every year. They also made it to the NBA finals 4 times, losing thrice (Bucks 71, Warriors 75, SuperSonics 79).

    In a similar vein, during the decade of the 70s only 4 NFL teams didn’t make the playoffs. Two of them were teams that had never made it before: the Saints (who were founded in 67) and the Seahawks (76). But the other two were teams with deep histories who were just inept

    [MORE]
    the Giants and the Jets. This is why so many boomers in the NYC area are fans of the Cowboys, Steelers, Dolphins, and Raiders.

    • Thanks: Trinity
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