Work in Sports
Authenticity of Wilt's 100-point ball questioned
Posted: Saturday April 29, 2000 08:20 PM
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- No one is questioning this: After the 1962 game in which Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points ended, a teen-ager named Kerry Ryman ran on to the court and grabbed a basketball.
On Friday, Ryman, now 52, sold that basketball through an auction house. A collector paid $551,844. No one questions that either.
What is being questioned is whether the ball Ryman swiped is the one Chamberlain used to score 100 points.
"He may think he has the ball," said Harvey Pollack, now a statistician for the Philadelphia 76ers, "but myself and a lot of other people are challenging the authenticity of that ball."
Pollack, who was working for the Philadelphia Warriors during that game in Hershey against the New York Knicks, said referee Willie Smith took the ball out of the game after Chamberlain scored his 100th point. Another ball was taken from a bag beneath Pollack's seat and used for the remainder of the game, he said.
"That's the one the kid took," Pollack said. "The only problem was that in the last 46 seconds, or however much time was left, Wilt never touched that ball."
Pollack said the ball Chamberlain used was signed by Chamberlain, his teammates and several others.
"(Ryman) said he played with that ball for a while," Pollack said. "He wouldn't have done that if the ball had signatures all over it."
The ball was then displayed in the Warriors' office in downtown Philadelphia until the team was sold to a group of San Francisco investors, he said.
"The problem is: All of the people who worked in that office are dead," Pollack said. He said the Warriors memorabilia moved with the team. But a spokesman for the Oakland, Calf.-based Golden State Warriors said he had no idea what happened to the Philadelphia Warriors memorabilia.
Josh Evans, the president of Leland's, the auction house that sold the ball for Ryman, said he remains convinced that the ball he sold is the one Chamberlain used.