Issue 38: Cool Cats: Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain

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Welcome to the latest installment of “Cool Cats,” looking at a player that exudes flair and swagger both on and off the court. Today’s Cool Cat: Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain.

This Man Scored a Lot of Points

One of the first facts I ever learned about basketball is that Wilt Chamberlain is the only professional player to score at least 100 points in a single game. At 7’1”, he towered over most of his opponents, which makes placing a ball in a basket at least a little bit easier. Still, that’s incredibly impressive, as evidenced by the fact that no one else has done it in an NBA game.

Granted, people have done it, including a middle-school boy from Sweden named Mats Wermelin who once scored 272 points in a game. The final score of that contest was 272 to 0. Pass the ball sometime, Mats.

In addition to the 100 points in a game feat, Chamberlain is the only player in NBA history to do all of the following things, so if you ever need to rattle off some statistics, I’ve got you covered:

  • Average 40 points per game for an entire season
  • Average 50 points per game for an entire season
  • Average 30 points and 20 rebounds per game for an entire season
  • Average 30 points and 20 rebounds per game for his entire career
  • Star in the movie Conan the Destroyer, which grossed $31 million at the box office

Those are all impressive stats, to be sure. And Wilt Chamberlain, whose middle name may or may not actually be “The Stilt,” is a deserved member of the NBA Hall of Fame. However, his basketball prowess is just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s talk his sexual prowess, as well.

Scoring Points with the Ladies

Chamberlain claimed to have had sexual relations with more than 20,000 women. I don’t think I’ve even spoken to 20,000 people in my life, let alone slept with that many.

Of course, this is an estimate, because, again, counting to 20,000 in anything is pretty difficult. Instead, Chamberlain and his friend Rod Roddewig (two men with great names) used a Day-Timer to keep track of Chamberlain’s exploits. Anytime he went to bed with a different woman, he put a check in the Day-Timer.

After 10 days, there were 23 checks in the book. To correct for his slumber variations each week, Chamberlain divided that number in half and then multipled by the number of days he had been alive, minus 15 years. It doesn’t take a math whiz (just a calculator) to figure out that the end result is 20,000.

Shortly before his death in 1999, Chamberlain did give a word of warning to other men who think sleeping around is worth pursuing: “With all of you men out there who think that having a thousand different ladies is pretty cool, I have learned in my life I’ve found out that having one woman a thousand different times is much more satisfying.”

Hitting Up the Boards AND the Boardroom

When not on the basketball court or in the bedroom, Chamberlain was an avid businessman, as well. He made money in stocks and real estate, bought a Harlem nightclub he renamed Smalls Paradise, and bred horses. Chamberlain also opened up a film production and distribution company and started a track and field club.

Just for good measure, he stayed in great physical shape throughout his life — he ran in several marathons and the New Jersey Nets even asked him to join their team when he was 49 years old. For context, the oldest player in NBA history was a man named Nat Hickey, who was a coach that activated himself to play in a game mere days before his 46th birthday.

Wait, that’s a pretty cool move, too. Nat Hickey, you’re also a cool cat.

That’s all ’til next time. Thanks for reading!