Monday, April 1, 2013
the last book I ever read (Bill Bradley's Life on the Run, excerpt twelve)
from Life on the Run by Bill Bradley:
The Lakers field a less interesting team than in the recent past. From Cooke’s triumvirate of Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, and Wilt Chamberlain, only West remains. The regal threesome never won a championship together. Only when Elgin Baylor was forced into retirement and Chamberlain had one of his most peaceful, satisfying, and successful years did Los Angeles finally win it all. That year the Lakers beat the Knicks four games to one in an anti-climactic title series. I was very happy for West, a man of quiet dignity and prodigious talents. I felt the championship was more his than Wilt’s, whose talents and personality even in victory stood apart from the team.
The highlight of those play-offs was the Los Angeles-Milwaukee semifinal pitting Wilt against Jabbar. Wilt, in that series, at least became a popular big-man. He defeated the proud, independent Muslim, who for a brief moment due to his size, outspokenness, and misunderstood religion became the designated villain that Chamberlain’s arrogance and size had always made him in the public mind. Wilt had finally become an American hero.