If Wilt Chamberlain were alive and in his prime today, he’d be a bigger star than The Rock and LeBron James combined. He was larger than life. Literally and figuratively.
He was an absolute force on the court as an NBA star. He’s the only player to score 100 points in a game. He averaged 50 points and 25 rebounds for an entire season. He played for the Lakers, lived in the Hollywood Hills, acted in movies and commercials, and let’s just say he enjoyed the trappings of a celebrity lifestyle. (Read his biography if you need further interpretation.)
Simply put, he was the most dominant force in the ’60s and 70’s, and his appetite for all things was massive, including food.
Lakers’ legend Jerry West told the tale of what he saw in person at the dinner table when it came to Wilt.
West tells the story of being invited to Wilt’s hotel room, and when he arrived, an elaborate buffet table was set up with brisket sandwiches, ribs, coleslaw, and dessert.
“I open the door, and he’s got a towel tied around his neck, [and] he’s got a pair of basketball shorts on. That’s all he had on. I look around and I said, ‘Oh my God, what is this guy doing?’ There were three [giant] racks of ribs; there were six 7 Ups — he drank 7 Up like it was water. There were two one-pound brisket sandwiches. … Coleslaw, potato salad, barbecued beans, barbecued chicken. I’m sitting there thinking, ‘Oh my God, what’s going to happen here tonight?’
“I think there was about half of one of these 7 Ups left. I said, ‘Have you been working out?’ Nope. I said, ‘How in the hell are you going to play tomorrow night?’ … Well, he goes out and gets 25 rebounds. And when I left there that night, his towel [made it look] like he was pregnant. I have no idea how a man could eat that much.”
Terry Pluto wrote a book called “Tall Tales,” and he revealed more about Wilt’s prodigious appetite. He would allegedly eat half an apple pie and half a gallon of milk at halftime of some games.
Laker’s announcer Chick Hearn said Wilt would eat an entire chicken before games. According to one story, when the coach told Wilt not to devour that much food before tipoff, he showed up with a dozen hot dogs the next time.
RIP Wilt. Hopefully, there’s good food in heaven.