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Wilt, 1962

The Night of 100 Points and the Dawn of a New Era
Narrated by: Stephen Hoye
Length: 10 hrs and 16 mins
4 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On the night of March 2, 1962, in Hershey, Pennsylvania, right up the street from the chocolate factory, Wilt Chamberlain, a young and striking athlete celebrated as the Big Dipper, scored 100 points in a game against the New York Knickerbockers.

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

Critic Reviews

"In his undeniable excellence and egotism, Wilt Chamberlain was America itself, inspiring worship, ambivalence, and downright awe." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Paul
  • Portland, OR
  • 05-11-05

Wilt, 1962

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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Great Book About An Incredble Athlete

I became a sports fan at about age 7 or 8; depending upon the sport. Basketball came first in the winter/spring of 1967 UNC Basketball was my first obsession soon followed by Wilt Chamberlain, at that time with the Philadelphia 76ers. With a second graders lack of understanding about issues like Collegiate Athletic Eligibility, I expressed my hope that Wilt would join the Tar Heels the following season; this provided my adult relatives with a good laugh. From that point on for the rest of his career any game involving Chamberlain became a must see game for me. I thought that I would finally get to see him in a game when he signed a contract with the San Diego Conquistadors of the ABA, (the Carolina Cougars were an ABA team who played several games a year in my hometown of Charlotte.) Unfortunately because of the reserve clause that the courts would still recognize for another 3 years; he would have to sit out a year. Thus Wilt was named the team's head coach and he sorta coached the team for the 1973-74 season but never played a game in the ABA and I never got the chance to see him play in person.
Though I've long since lost my obsession with sports this well crafted, well written, book reminded me of those times and why I was such a fan of this fascinating athlete. One minor point; the author failed to point out a significant irony, in that his foil in the 100 point game, Darrell Imhoff; was actually part of the trade package that the Lakers put together to acquire Chamberlain in a 1968 trade. Given the amount of space Imhoff was accorded in this book it seems a rather large oversight not to have mentioned that fact the two were later traded for each other. Still this is an excellent listen for anyone who appreciates sports history; I actually listened to the entire over the period of about a day and a half.