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Wilt Chamberlain
John Garrity
December 09, 1991
He seeks his place in a world where guards dominate and sex isn't safe
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December 09, 1991

Wilt Chamberlain

He seeks his place in a world where guards dominate and sex isn't safe

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SI: Do you think one Lucas-type player in the last Olympics would have made for a different outcome?

WC: Absolutely. Absolutely. A Dave DeBusschere. A Bob Pettit. The great power forward today, the guy from Utah—what's his name?

SI: Karl Malone.

WC: Malone. Great player, but can he shoot? No, he can use his power only on the inside. He's limited. The guys who can go outside and shoot a 30-footer and also be a force inside—we just don't have them anymore.

SI: What do you think about the virtually all-NBA team we're going to send to the '92 Olympics? Does it have some of the same faults?

WC: I think it does. First, the guys who chose the players should be ashamed to have formulated the team this way. They've deprived a lot of youngsters, like [LSU center] Shaquille O'Neal, of a chance to try out for the team. It's not the American way—some guys in the back room smoking cigars, saying, "Hey, this is who's going to be on the team."

As for our chances, Bird can jump shoot from outside, but can he do it anymore with the bad back? I'm not sure. The center position is strong; we've got two great centers in [Patrick] Ewing and [David] Robinson. But other than that, I don't think the players complement each other. The game today is controlled by the guards. These guards are saying, "It's my ball, it's my game, and I'm not going to give it to you."

It probably doesn't make any difference, though, given what's going on in the world today. The Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, the two basketball powers, won't be able to represent themselves in their usual manner. Therefore, I don't think the U.S. will be challenged.

SI: You mentioned Bird as a player you admire. You like players who want to take that last shot, guys that don't shy away from responsibility.

WC: To me, Jerry West was the epitome. Most guys don't want it. There are a few out there who want it and shouldn't have it, but most guys really don't want it.

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