August 21st marks what would be Wilt Chamberlin’s 79th birthday. Although he died in 1999, Wilt packed a lot of living into his 63 years. Although everyone knows about Wilt’s incredible career, basketball was actually just a small part of Wilt’s life. To commemorate the legacy of this dominate player and unique individual, here are 9 little known facts about Wilt Chamberlin:
Wilt Chamberlin has a stamp.
On December 5, 2014, the USPS released two limited addition Wilt Chamberlin stamps. One stamp shows Chamberlin wearing Philadelphia Warriors uniform and the other shows him in a Yellow Los Angeles Lakers uniform.
Wilt Chamberlin took a year off between college and the NBA.
Wilt left college during his junior year, but because he couldn’t enter the NBA right away, he performed with the Harlem Globetrotters for a year.
Wilt was a writer.
In 1973, Wilt released an autobiography entitled, Wilt: Just Like Any Other 7-Foot Black Millionaire Who Lives Next Door. In 1984, Wilt released A View From Above, which contained several of Wilt’s philosophies on life, which he dubbed as “Wiltisms.” Wilts final book, Who’s Running the Asylum? Inside the Insane World of Sports Today, discussed subjects such as female sports stars, Wilt’s All-Star team, and who really controls sports.
Wilt was an actor.
While still playing, Wilt appeared on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In and starred in numerous commercials for Volkswagen, Brut aftershave, and Miller Light.
Wilt also played Bombaata opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in1984’s Conan the Destroyer.
Wilt’s siblings are short.
Wilt is one of eight children, none of which were taller than 5’9’’. Will was 7’1’’.
Wilt appeared in the NBA 2K13 video game.
Wilt was featured with legendary players such as Alonzo Mourning, Scottie Pippen, and Larry Bird. The game was released 13 years after Wilt’s death.
Wilt’s views on social issues often caused controversy.
Wilt condemned the Black Power Movement and never publicly supported civil rights leaders. Wilt earned further ire from the African American community when he told the media he preferred Caucasian women. He also supported conservative candidate Richard Nixon during both of his presidential runs.
Wilt was one of the highest paid basketball stars.
In 1965, he became the first player to be paid $100,000 (over 750k in today’s dollars).
Wilt loved cars.
Wilt had had a collection of sports cars and was reportedly a car fanatic. Most notably, he owned a 1982 Lamborghini Countach that had to have the seat removed to accommodate his large frame.