In 1962, the National Basketball Association, stepchild to the college game, was searching for its identity. Its teams were mostly white, the number of black players limited by an unspoken quota. Games were played in drafty, half-filled arenas, and the players traveled on buses and trains, telling tall tales, playing cards, and sometimes reading Joyce. Into this scene stepped the unprecedented Wilt Chamberlain: strong and quick-witted, voluble and enigmatic, a seven-footer who played with a colossal will and a dancer's grace.
Pomerantz tracked down Knicks and Philadelphia Warriors, fans, journalists, team officials, other NBA stars of the era, and basketball historians, conducting more than 250 interviews in all, to recreate in painstaking detail the game that announced the Dipper's greatness.
At the heart of the book is the self-made Chamberlain, a romantic cosmopolitan who owned a nightclub in Harlem and shrugged off segregation with a bebop cool but harbored every slight deep in his psyche. March 2, 1962, presented the awesome sight of Wilt Chamberlain imposing himself on a world that would diminish him.
Wilt, 1962 is not only the dramatic story of a singular basketball game but a meditation on small towns, mid-century America, and one of the most intriguing figures in the pantheon of sports heroes.
BONUS: This audio contains the original fourth-quarter radio broadcast of Wilt's record-shattering 100-point game.
©2005 Gary M. Pomerantz; (P)Books on Tape, Inc.
"In his undeniable excellence and egotism, Wilt Chamberlain was America itself, inspiring worship, ambivalence, and downright awe." (Philadelphia Inquirer)
I loved this book. It was much better than I had expected and was very well written and spoken. The author's genius lay in his ability to write about a two hour time period in a way that not only kept my interest but had me on the edge of my ears even though I knew the outcome. I left this book having a new appreciation for Wilt Chamberlain. I never realized was a great man he was. Unfortunately our culture has relegated him to the status of an icon that slept with 20,000 women. He was not only a great basketball player but a man of great depth, kindness and strength. I was sad when this book ended. Anyone that enjoys biography and sports will love this book.
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