by | Nov 21, 2008 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

Today we answer the most talked-about question in sports: Is it possible that Wilt Chamberlain slept with 20,000 women?

Wait. Let me check my watch.

Make that 20,001.

Chances are you have heard about Wilt’s claim. He wrote it in his new book, “A View From Above,” which I always thought referred to his height. Maybe it refers to the mirror over his bed.

Twenty thousand women. That’s what he says. He told me personally, Sunday night, when we did a radio talk show together. I must admit, Wilt looked remarkably fit for a guy who has endured so much sexual activity. After 20,000

women, I expected him to be wheeled in on a slab, with a dumb grin on his face. He said he was only in town for a brief stay; I sent the secretaries home, just in case.

“So Wilt,” I began, and here, being the thoughtful, intelligent type of talk-show host who gets no ratings, I paused, looking for important subjects rather than the cheap and tacky sex stuff.

“So,” I said. “IS IT TRUE, OR WHAT?”

“It’s 20,000,” Wilt insisted. “I went back to my old date books and figured it out.”

Which is what people across the country are doing right now. The Wilt Equation. America hasn’t done this much calculating since the stock market crashed. You see men by the water coolers, counting on both hands. Let’s see, if you take Wilt’s age (55), figure the year he says he started (15), divide it into the total number of women (20,000), you come up with . . . an average, he writes, of 1.2 women per day.

Personally, it’s the .2 that has me confused. Is .2 just a slow dance? Or a soulful kiss?

For me, .2 was high school.

But I was always weak in math.

Wilt says he plays it safe

“I had no idea people would make such a fuss over this,” Chamberlain admitted Sunday. “It’s a small part of the book. I didn’t write it to brag. People are always asking about my statistics, how many points I scored, stuff like that. So I figured they would be interested in another statistic.”

Yeah. Wait’ll the fantasy leagues get ahold of this.

Actually, it’s not the numbers that impress me, but the timing. If you allow for sick days, travel days and the occasional day when he just didn’t feel like it (if there ever was such a day) you pretty much figure that, in order to squeeze everyone in, Wilt’s conversations had to go something like this:

WOMAN: “Hi, aren’t you–“


Now. I should say here that Chamberlain does not encourage promiscuity, although coming from a man nicknamed “The Big Dipper” you take that for what it’s worth. Much of his bedroom activity, he said, came during the ’60s and
’70s when, as he put it, “there was a sexual revolution going on.”

Obviously, Wilt made general.

I also should mention that Wilt promotes Safe Sex. AS OFTEN AS YOU CAN POSSIBLY HAVE IT. No. Ha. I just threw that in because, when you sit next to a man who has lost count of how many countries he has had sex in, you feel a little inferior.

And then John Salley showed up.

And I really felt like a monk.

“Hey, big fella,” Wilt said.

“Hey, big fella,” Salley said.

Was I glad I had sent the secretaries home.

Salley, like Wilt, is not married, hovers in the 7-foot range and has a reputation as a ladies man, although his Pistons coach, Chuck Daly, would prefer a few fewer dates and a few more dunks.

Anyhow, I figured Salley dropped by for a few tips, or maybe some of Wilt’s old phone numbers. They started talking. Next thing you know, they’d be on the air saying: “Betty from Hoboken? You knew Betty from Hoboken? Last time I saw her–“

I tried to think fast: What would Dr. Ruth do?

I went back to sports questions. I asked Wilt about the NBA. I asked about salaries. I asked about the time he scored 100 in one night. Points, that is.

“Let’s go to the phones,” I said, satisfied I had diverted the subject.
“Hello, you’re on the air . . .”

“Yeah, Wilt? About this 20,000 women thing. That’s like, unbelievable!”

An equal-opportunity lover

Now. I know many women are reading this column, and perhaps some feel Wilt’s claim is insulting. Perhaps they feel women should not be rung up like a pinball score.

To these women I say: You are right. At least I think you are right. But what do I know? I consider it a good night if a waitress takes my order.

“I love women, and I truly respect women,” Wilt said. I have no doubt as to the former. And, actually, I can believe the latter. Wilt Chamberlain is not into groping, a la Mike Tyson. (After 20,000 love scenes, how much of a thrill can groping be?)

Wilt says he simply enjoys making love, and has done so with women of all races and nationalities. He says as far as he knew — and he claims he always asked — none of his partners were married, because he does not believe in infidelity. He also says he never had sex right before a game.

I hope he told Salley that.

So is it true? Who knows? Maybe, it’s like Wilt writes in his book,
“There are a few of us who are fortunate enough to be in a position to fulfill our lustful desires. And I’m one of those lucky ones.”

Or, as the old song goes:

Wise men say, only fools rush in

But I can’t help falling in love with you

and you and you and you and you and you . . .


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