Chamberlain has also said he would hate to have to break in a new coach at this stage of his career. Presumably he is not talking of Coach Chamberlain. The other 76er players may be wondering how Wilt could coach them without attending practice sessions. As a Philadelphia rookie, long departed, once said, "One thing you can say about Wilt. He never leaves his game in the gym."
In the Southwest, Texas A&M is thought to have an inflated ego—even by Texas standards. In consequence, it often has been the butt of jokes. There is a book called 101 Aggie Jokes, and not long ago a sequel was published—Son of 101 Aggie Jokes.
But the school went out of its way recently to suggest that it is not puffed up at all. An educational television station in Austin asked Southwest Conference teams for autographed footballs which are to be sold for a benefit. Football-sized packages promptly arrived from Rice, Texas, TCU, SMU, Arkansas, Baylor and Texas Tech. But a small flat box came from A&M. It contained a neatly folded deflated football, signed as requested by the A&M team.
One might argue, however, that the Aggies, conference champions, are just saving their hot air.
"If the owners are making a ton, we want a quarter ton," John Gordy, president of the National Football League Players' Association, said last week. "We are taking a militant but reasonable stand in our negotiations." The players' association, which for the first time is being recognized by the owners as the collective bargaining agent for the pros, is seeking, among other things, a $5 million contribution for its pension fund, $500 in salary for each participant in an exhibition game, a $15,000 minimum salary (82% of NFL players make that anyway) and a postseason game between NFL and AFL All-Stars.
Gordy points out that the baseball owners contribute $4.1 million each year to the players' pension fund, but NFL clubs put in only $1.38 million. "This means," he says, "that Frank Howard of the Washington Senators, who has played in the majors for 10 years, will get a pension of $1,287 a month when he is 65. I have played 10 years and will receive only $656. When Howard is 50 years old he will be paid $500 a month. I will get nothing."
Gordy lists other inequities that the players' association hopes to change. Among them: a baseball player receives a month's salary when he is released; a pro football player gets no severance pay. A baseball player traded from an East Coast club to the West Coast receives $1,200 for moving expenses; a football player gets nothing.
The players' association is suggesting that the NFL hasn't been giving the pros the Super Bowl of gold and benefits that the league would like to have its fans suppose. So far negotiation meetings have been relatively calm. But they are going to heat up.