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Magic also wanted it down there at the end. He may have seemed to be the wrong guy to take a three-point shot at the buzzer, but he'd take it and make it. Under those conditions he was incredible. I've also said that if I had to go to a guy for the last shot, I would go to Kareem.
SI: That's a surprise, because you and Abdul-Jabbar don't get along.
WC: Kareem and I are estranged for several reasons. He may feel that I'm the one person that stands in the way of true immortality for him, because I came before him and did some things that he didn't do. But he did some things that I didn't do, and I've always said he was, by far, the greatest offensive weapon I've ever seen or played against. And he wanted the ball. Some people just respond to final-seconds pressure better than others.
In some cases, though, these guys should be used as decoys. Maybe go to the least expected guy, understand? A lot of times Michael Jordan is put under the hammer because everybody knows that in the last quarter you go to Jordan. I've seen the Bulls lose a lot of games going to Jordan when he's got too many guys playing him or he's in a bad position.
SI: How do you feel about the taunting that goes on these days, the "in your face" posturing we see in football and basketball?
WC: That mentality is one of the dumber things I've come across. You're saying, "Hey, world, I'm the best! Only I can do this right here!" And everybody knows it's done by everyone all the time.
SI: How important to your development was the caliber of competition you faced both as a kid in Philadelphia and later on?
WC: Only if you live in a place like Philadelphia or New York, where there's going to be more than five good players on a team, are you going to get some good games. That's how I got to be a good basketball player. There was always great competition.
You're only as good as the people you play against. I owe everything I have to Bill Russell and Walt Bellamy and Nate Thurmond. And the big guy from Cincinnati, Wayne Embry. I owe them because they forced me to play to my level.
SI: In your basketball prime, you were always the heavy—"Goliath," as you put it. Now you're seen by many as a likable guy with a lot of enthusiasm for life. Are you happy that people are liking you more?