Wilt and 16-year-old Rasheed Wallace
Depending who tells the story, Wilt Chamberlain was one of two things. He was pro basketball’s first legitimate superstar, a man whose physical attributes appeared other worldly and sheer dominance sparked equals parts fear and awe on the faces of his opponents. On the contrary, Chamberlain was a man primarily concerned with his performance (he once led the league in assists to prove he wasn’t a ball hog), alienated himself from his own teammates both on and off the court and was generally apprehensive of big game situations. Both assessments are fair seeing as there are grounds backing each claim. Yet, with the rock-and-roll life that was Wilt The Stilt’s, he may soon be immortalized in one of the country’s original manners – by having his own postage stamp.
Mike Jensen of the Philadelphia Inquirer explains the movement is “under consideration” and has received backing from NBA officials and other Wilt supporters, an initiative started by Philadelphia Tribute sports editor Donald Hunt. Roy Betts, manager of community relations for the Postal Service, explains, “Stamp selections will be announced in August, but the committee, which meets four times a year, also is talking about possibilities for the next few years.”
Sure, there are probably a handful of other athletes who have been dead over five years – the criteria for being on a stamp – who “may” deserve the honor over Wilt, but the logic here makes sense. As said earlier, he was a superstar; a megastar, even, and one of the biggest names in pop culture during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Not to mention, his play, personality and legacy is a substantial reason the game of basketball grew to become the social and cultural force it is today. And plus, of slightly less importance, anytime there’s an opportunity to put a man on a stamp who has slept with more women than seats in many current NBA arenas, what is there really left to decide?