If there is a story that describes how big Wilt Chamberlain was, this is it. Back in 1986, when he had 13 years already retired, Chamberlain somehow was still on the radar of NBA teams. Well, at least he was for some time, in the plans of the New Jersey Nets.
During that year, the Nets were fighting for a spot in the playoffs and they needed a player to make an immediate impact and take them to the postseason. That's when Wilt's name appeared, and they offered the legend $362,500 to play the last seven games of the regular season plus the playoffs. The big man was confident that the move could be done.
“It is realistic. I work out with pro athletes all the time. I know what my body can do and what I can do," he said.
He stated he was playing other sports, trying to keep himself active.
“I work out every day. Sometimes I swim, sometimes I run. I do aerobics, calisthenics. I lift weights three or four times a week. I play volleyball and racquetball. I’m 25 to 30 pounds lighter now than when I played.”
In the end, he decided to decline the offer, saying he didn't consider it fair and honest. Moreover, he said he couldn't do that to other players and insert himself in the team, taking a spot that could be filled by anyone else.
“I did not consider it at all. It sounded like a ploy, a joke to ask a guy in the last part of the season without any consideration of the effect on the team. It was not a fair proposal. They didn’t ask what kind of shape I was in, whether I had a cold or a toothache. “
“I respect pro basketball players too much to think I could go out and be competitive with them after they’ve been playing all season, doing what they do better than anybody else in the world. You don’t take a guy and throw him out there with nine others, four on his team, five playing against him, and expect anything like you used to get. “
It seems like it was a likely possibility for the Hall of Famer to return to the league, but under those circumstances, it was very complicated. Wilt left the game being a 2x NBA Champ, 13x NBA All-Star, 7x Scoring Champ, 4x League MVP, and in 1962., he set the league’s single-game scoring record by dropping a 100 pts vs. New York Knicks.