Is Michael Jordan the greatest of all time? Wilt Chamberlain, a former KU and NBA player, didn’t believe so.

Is Michael Jordan the all-time great basketball player?

 

Wilt Chamberlain disagreed.

 

“How would Michael Jordan respond to me?” previously inquired the 7-foot-1 Chamberlain. “I can jump higher than he can. Michael had a 43-inch vertical, while my vertical was 52 inches, and I am already seven inches higher than him. He was unable to run as quickly as I could. We used to hold races against the fastest guards when I played for the 76ers, and I would always win.

“I handled the ball as well as he did, and he couldn’t shoot the ball any better than at the foul line. How in the world is he going to protect me? When facing Wilt Chamberlain one-on-one, what will Michael Jordan do? Nothing.

 

Remarks made by Chamberlain during what may have been his final in-depth interview occurred just months before he died on October 13, 1999, from a heart attack. He was sixty-three. In late June of that year, we sat down for a nearly forty-minute one-on-one chat with him while he signed two hundred posters for a Tri-State autograph exhibition in Kansas City.

I spoke with Chamberlain three times total. This was one of them. On January 16, 1998, he made his first appearance at the University of Kansas to see the retirement of his No. 13 jersey. After a 50-minute media meeting, he left to meet with the Jayhawks basketball team and fielded questions from the audience. Not one of them, not even the ones concerning his notorious 20,000 dates with women, did he back down from.

“People tend to forget that I also wrote that it’s better to love a woman 1,000 times instead of 1,000 times,” he stated.

 

The next day, during the halftime of a KU-MU game, Wilt enjoyed what old-timers now describe to as the largest ovation in Allen Fieldhouse history. After the game, Wilt stayed over two hours to sign autographs.

Wilt’s KU teammate Bob Billings obtained my writing from that day and forwarded it to Chamberlain. And Wilt called me back to express his gratitude. We spent sixty minutes talking about his “old school” principles and his optimistic, down-to-earth attitude on life, rather than much basketball.

 

There may always be disagreements over who the greatest player of all time is, but one thing is certain—Wilt Chamberlain was the most dominant player of all time.

 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*