Wilt did his best scoring off court, new book says

October 31, 1991|By Stan Hochman | Stan Hochman,Knight-Ridder

PHILADELPHIA -- If Wilt Chamberlain didn't have impeccable taste, if he were braggadocious, or flamboyant, he'd build a 7-foot-high golden arch outside his Bel Air, Calif., mansion, and install a blinking, digital, ever-changing sign in the shape of a smile that said, "Over 20,000 satisfied customers."

That's the number, 20,000. It's in Wilt's new book, "A View From Above."

Points? Rebounds? Assists?

You want statistics, buy the official NBA encyclopedia.

You want Wilt's bedroom box score, it's right there, Chapter 11: "If I had to count my sexual encounters, I would be closing in on 20,000 different ladies."

The italics are Wilt's, as are the quaint formulas used to come up with the magic number, and the justification for including the awesome statistic in the book.

"In the context of my book," Wilt explained the other day, "I felt as though I had to bring it up.

"How could I be involved in something that much of my life, something that helped shape my views on life, without writing about it?

"It would be like leaving out my whole basketball career.

"I could have said, 'Sex is a big part of my life and I enjoyed the relationship of many, many women.' But that wouldn't have been indicative of anything at all."

Anyway, it figures out to 1.2 encounters a day, every day, since Wilt was 15.

Guy never had a headache? He's not likely to get an Advil commercial any time soon.

Don't get the wrong idea about the book. It's not all about sex.

The book is a smorgasbord, lots of anecdotes and opinions dealing with lots of different subjects.

There's some timely reminiscing about Cus D'Amato, the fight ++ trainer who sprung Mike Tyson from that reform school at age 14.

"I knew Cus," Wilt said, "and it was mainly because of Cus that I considered fighting Muhammad Ali.

"If Cus had lived longer, and this man [Tyson] had not changed loyalties and allegiances, he would have had a happier life outside the ring, and maybe inside the ring as well.

"That only goes to emphasize, as I say in the book, that picking your friends is the most important ingredient that you can possibly do in this world of ours."

He scorns star athletes who are multiple offenders in the drug-abuse swamp. "I would be a very tough commissioner, I don't know if I have enough compassion for the job."

Or time, what with those many conquests. No wonder he rarely practiced free throws.

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