Michael Jordan is the biggest legend in NBA history. Jordan played in the NBA across the 80s and 90s and revolutionized the league during that stint. MJ was incredibly gifted in almost every aspect of the game, and his performances allowed him to have a lot of success and went on to win multiple team and individual accolades during his career.
Jordan mesmerized audiences and had fans watching his every move. Michael Jordan could be described as the human highlight reel, as every play he made grabbed the attention of the fans and analysts in the arena and watching on television. But even former legends of the NBA were enthralled by Jordan.
During the 1997 NBA All-Star Weekend, the NBA honored the top 50 players in NBA history in honor of the NBA’s 50th anniversary. One player on the list was Wilt Chamberlain, who was a trailblazer and a pioneer in the NBA, and a true statistical marvel. But even Chamberlain was taken aback by Michael Jordan.
Wilt Chamberlain spoke with Ahmad Rashad during the 1997 NBA All-Star game. During the interview, Rashad asked him about his interaction with Michael Jordan. Chamberlain revealed it was the first time he met Jordan, and he was in awe of him, like everyone else. On top of that, he said he wanted to interact with him more, but they don’t partake in the same leisurely activities (0:40 mark).
“Well I just went over to say hello to him and I was like everybody else, I’m in awe. I said we got to get together and talk sometime, which he wanted to do. And it was nice. Most people had thought that we had met, but I don’t play golf, he doesn’t play volleyball, but here we are now.”
Clearly, Jordan had earned Wilt’s respect. However, this was not always the case. Chamberlain had taken shots at Jordan before, stating that the NBA had to change the rules for Jordan to thrive, whereas they changed the rules to hamper Wilt’s dominance over everyone else.
But later, Wilt did change his tune toward Jordan, even once stating that all NBA players should give 10% of their salaries to MJ. Both Jordan and Wilt changed the game in very different ways. Wilt helped pave the way for superstar players like Michael Jordan, but Jordan helped popularize the NBA the world over and made it one of the most popular sports leagues in the world today.