| ||OAKLAND, Calif. -- The first NBA team that Wilt Chamberlain ever played for honored the late basketball great Wednesday night, retiring his No. 13 jersey in an emotional halftime ceremony.
"If he were here, I think he would have enjoyed this," said
his sister, Barbara Lewis, who with her husband, Elzie, was on hand
for the Golden State Warriors' tribute.
"I think he would have realized how people truly cared for him.
It's an honor and I think he would have accepted it as such."
The crowd responded with a rousing ovation when Chamberlain's name and number were put up on the Oakland Coliseum Arena walls with other Warriors' greats.
Chamberlain, who died Oct. 12 of heart attack, became the first
player in NBA history to have his jersey retired by three different
The Philadelphia 76ers, who played the Warriors on Wednesday
night, and the Los Angeles Lakers also have retired the jersey of
Chamberlain, a Hall of Famer and 13-time All Star.
He is the fifth Warrior to have his jersey retired, joining Rick
Barry, Al Attles, Tom Meschery and Nate Thurmond, all of whom also
were in attendance.
"It's high time his jersey is up there. I wish it could have
been under different circumstances," Barry said. "There was never
a greater center in the history of the NBA than Wilt Chamberlain.
Take a look at the skills it takes to play center and at the
statistics, no one has done the things Wilt has done. For anybody
to pick anybody other than Wilt, you'd have to be a moron."
Chamberlain began his career with the Warriors in 1959, when the
franchise was based in Philadelphia, and spent six years with the
team -- the last two coming after the club moved to the West Coast.
Chamberlain averaged 41.5 points per game in his stay with the Warriors.
It was while he was with the Warriors that he had his famed
100-point game against New York in Hershey, Pa. The effort marked
one of 105 games in which he scored at least 50 points for the
"The only thing I can say about Wilt is basketball is what he
did. It wasn't what he was," Attles said. "He was giving and
compassionate, a great competitor and he was a funny, funny man. I
Attles said what was often lost in the 7-foot Chamberlain's
imposing image was his fun-loving nature. In Chamberlain's
100-point game, Attles was the second-leading scorer with a perfect
game, putting in all eight of his shots and making his only free
throw, a rare feat but one that would always be overshadowed by
"You know, after that game, Wilt gave me a basketball and put
it on a pedestal with a plaque," Attles recalled. "It said, 'To
Al, the man who did all the right things at the wrong time.' That's
the way he was."
|Bob Lanier helps unveil a plaque bearing Wilt's Warriors jersey. Chamberlain's sister, Barbara Lewis, said her late brother would have enjoyed the gesture.|| |
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