WC: That's true. I tell people—and I'm remiss for not doing so in the book—that I definitely believe there's a need for safe sex. I was fortunate enough to be in my prime in the '60s and '70s, when there was a sexual revolution for women and there wasn't the concern about AIDS and these social diseases that are so very scary. I haven't come to the point where I abstain, but believe me, I'm much more selective these days. Yes, Wilt Chamberlain himself has become totally selective.
SI: How did you hear about Magic?
WC: I was at an autograph signing in San Francisco two hours before he went on national television, and somebody asked for my response to what was still a rumor. I was completely shocked and didn't want to believe it, because I feel very close to Magic.
I don't understand how everybody's suddenly aware of AIDS now, and they weren't aware before. AIDS has been killing people for close to a decade. But when people thought it touched only the "undesirables"—drug users, gays, minorities—it was quite all right to let this thing run rampant. That bothers me greatly. I wonder why it takes one of our heroes' falling for people to see how real this thing is.
SI: Vice-President Quayle used Magic to make a public plea for sexual abstention.
WC: To say that we should abstain, I think, is ridiculous. That's not going to happen. Let's be realistic and do something about the disease.
SI: Let's change subjects. Let's discuss your ideas about pro basketball. You think that basketball in the '90s is showier and more entertaining than in the past, but that the game has not actually improved.
WC: No, it hasn't—not at all. The game has reached an apex of popularity, but that's been programmed. People see a guy do a 360-degree dunk and go, "Wow, man, you see that!" But when I played, if you were down by 10 points and you did a 360 dunk, the coach would sit you down. The fans would call you a hot dog. Do you think Johnny Green couldn't have done these dunks? Of course he could have. But if he had, his teammates would have looked at him funny. The top international teams are playing closer to how we played in the NBA back in the '60s, because that's where their coaches learned the game.
SI: But our fans aren't getting the message, are they? We lose the Olympics to the Soviets, we lose the Goodwill Games, we lose the Pan Am Games, and all people can say is, "Well, we would have won if we had used our pros."
WC: You're right. They are not getting the message. The type of game we're playing has put us in the doldrums. We're not using the center position as we once did. We don't use good forwards who can shoot well from outside. Jerry Lucas was the perfect prototype—he shot the ball from outside, shot the ball from inside and rebounded well. Who does that anymore except Larry Bird?