"I didn't learn anything from Chamberlain the one time I played against him. I used to watch him when I was a kid, and I had this picture of him in my mind as Superman. Then I played against him for the first time in the Maurice Stokes Benefit Game—and he isn't. I can't learn from him because he is so different from me. You always know what he is going to do, but he is so strong, you can't keep him from doing it. I learned a lot about defense watching Russell. I'd watch the way he positioned himself for rebounds and the way he blocked shots, and it helps.
"I got psyched by the officials early on blocking shots," he adds frankly. "I got a lot of calls for goaltending, and I got to the point for a while where I wouldn't even try to block a shot. I'd just try to maneuver for position and get the rebound and let my man shoot. You have to overcome that, but it isn't easy to do. I'm trying to do it now, but I still get goaltending calls. I can't judge if I have improved on that or anything else yet because I can't look at myself objectively. Someone who saw me early in the season and didn't see me again for a long time is in a better position to make that judgment."
One rival who prefers anonymity has made it, quite succinctly: "He's a whole new force. He doesn't even know how good he can be. If he finds out before the playoffs start, God help the Knicks. And everyone else."