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“I Introduce To You Now, The Greatest Player Ever In The History Of Basketball, Wilt Chamberlain", Sports Broadcaster Introduces Wilt Chamberlain On His 76ers Jersey Retirement Ceremony

“I Introduce To You Now, The Greatest Player Ever In The History Of Basketball, Wilt Chamberlain", Sports Broadcaster Introduces Wilt Chamberlain On His 76ers Jersey Retirement Ceremony

Wilt Chamberlain is regarded as the most dominant force the NBA has ever seen. Even with this, Chamberlain is often overlooked when people discuss who the NBA G.O.A.T. is.

The reason why so many people overlook Chamberlain is that they feel he was too dominant. If you take a glance at the record book, you can see this to be true.

Chamberlain holds (either by himself or tied with other players) 72 NBA records, which is insane to think about. So, why do people lower him on their all-time list?

Other than the fact he's considered, “too dominant”, people like to point out that he only won two titles, while his arch-rival, Bill Russell, won 11.

While many people look over Chamberlain's brilliance, on the night of March 18, 1991, the Philadelphia 76ers honored Chamberlain the right way with his jersey retirement ceremony.

Jersey Retirement

When people talk about the NBA G.O.A.T., they debate a few players. But if you ask sportscaster Al Meltzer, there's only one G.O.A.T.

(Timestamp 3:20)

“Since Doctor [James] Naismith tacked up the peach basket in a gymnasium in Springfield, Massachusetts, many years ago, and invented a game called basketball. Hundreds of thousands of people have played the game. And today, I make this unqualified statement: I introduce to you now, the greatest player ever, in the history of basketball, Wilt Chamberlain!”

- Al Meltzer

At the jersey retirement ceremony, Chamberlain had many guests from his playing days. Former coaches of his showed up, former NBA teammates, and Harlem Globetrotter legend, Frederick "Curly" Neal.

After Chamberlain finished playing college basketball at the University of Kansas, he spent a year touring the world with the Harlem Globetrotters before joining the NBA.

Chamberlain truly was one of the most unique basketball players of his time and in the history of the game. Only four players from the Globetrotters, including Chamberlain, have played in the NBA.

Chamberlain received gifts from people of high authority, like the governor of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

As a native from the city of “Brotherly Love”, Philadelphia and the entire state of Pennsylvania loved Chamberlain, and rightfully so.

Even with the support from former players, coaches, and friends, Chamberlain wished his parents could've seen the ceremony:

“I only wish my mother and father were alive to be here,” Chamberlain said. “But I think I represent them, and I think they feel I represent them well. I'm a very, very lucky individual.”

Chamberlain wasn't a lucky individual, he worked hard for everything he achieved. This, you would think, would gain him praise from everyone, but this wasn't the case for most of his NBA career.

For many years, the media bashed Chamberlain for being “too selfish”, or “not a winner like Russell”. On this night, the media finally had nothing but good words to say about Chamberlain:

The number 13 may be unlucky for some, but it certainly wasn't unlucky for one Wilton Norman Chamberlain.

Chamberlain wore that number during a 14-year pro basketball career which many people feel was the greatest in the history of the game. Last night at the Spectrum, in a ceremony that was probably long overdue, Chamberlain's No. 13 was retired by the Philadelphia 76ers.

- By KEITH GROLLER and The Morning Call

The Morning Call•March 19, 1991

The ceremony honored Chamberlain with dancers, a saxophone player, and plenty of gifts before Chamberlain took the mic and said, “thank you” to the 76ers organization and the fans in Philadelphia.

When Chamberlain looked over his career and all his accomplishments, he realized he owed everything to the city of Philadelphia, his home. He wanted to personally thank the city that raised him:

(Timestamp 29:35)

“What I don't owe to my mother and father, I owe to the great game of basketball. And I learned all my basketball in this great city of Brotherly Love. I have many, many friends, and fellow players in the audience today that has much to do with the raising of that number 13, as I did,” Chamberlain graciously said.

Chamberlain went on to add how important basketball was in Philadelphia and how it shaped his life:

“I was fortunate to come up in the era where basketball was king in Philadelphia. I dreamed a lot as a young kid. I wanted to be like Jackie Moore, who went to Overbrook high school, and I followed him there.

I wanted to be able to shoot the basketball like Hal Lear, who also went to Overbrook high school. I wanted to pass and dribble like Guy Rodgers, who went to Northeast high school. I wanted to be an all-around player like Tom Gola, who went to La Salle.

Or a consummate pro like Paul Arizin, who played for the Philadelphia Warriors. Or like my brother-in-law who had a lot of confidence in his game but went to Benjamin Franklin high school, Claude Gross.

I had a lot of teachers and a lot people I admired and wanted to be like. And I dreamed of the day I could do some of the things that they did. But I never dreamed of a night like tonight.”

At the end of the day, Wilt Chamberlain will always be a name you're going to have to talk about when discussing the greatest players in NBA history.

This is especially true if you discuss the G.O.A.T. topic in Philadelphia. Like the narrator of the Wilt Chamberlain televised jersey retirement special said:

(Timestamp 24:55)

“Where Wilt Chamberlain goes, Philadelphia goes with him.”

Chamberlain was known as a loner throughout his career. He had different opinions than most of his fellow athletes of the day. It's also said that Chamberlain liked to hop in his car and drive cross-country, all by himself.

Chamberlain also famously never married; this was a personal choice. To know how Chamberlain was, it may have shocked some people when he said this to the fans who attended his jersey retirement ceremony:

(Timestamp 31:04)

“When you look up there at that number 13 in the days and weeks, and years to come, I don’t want you to think of a guy who garnished a lot of rebounds, and a lot of points. I want you to think of a guy who has a lot of friends, and I’m going to count you guys all among them. Thank you very kindly.”

For Chamberlain to call everyone at his jersey retirement ceremony in Philadelphia, a friend, is something for those fans to cherish forever.


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