Wilt Appears To Be A Lock for U.S. Postal Stamp

May 14, 2013

It looks like late basketball great Wilt Chamberlain could have his photo on a United States postage stamp according to an article in the latest edition of Linn’s Stamp News, the world’s largest weekly stamp newspaper which covers the postal service, stamp collection and stamp information. Chamberlain, a former Overbrook High and NBA legend, could join a number of well known public figures the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee is scheduling for 2014 according to the story.

The list tentatively includes Chamberlain along with R&B singer James Brown, jazz singer Sarah Vaughn, the Beatles, actress Elizabeth Taylor, Apple’s Steve Jobs and others. These were some of the proposed selections from the CSAC meeting according to the committee’s minutes from the Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 meetings that were obtained by Linn’s Stamp News from an anonymous source.

Chamberlain is tentatively slated to receive a stamp in his honor in February 2014, which happens to be Black History Month, along with Ralph Ellison, author of “The Invisible Man,” and The Beatles according to the story. Of course, the official announcement has to come from the U.S. Postal Service.

“The subjects are not final until they’re announced by the postal service,” said Roy Betts, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service.

The official announcment will come later this year.

The CSAC receives thousands of proposals for stamps. The committee takes a close look at the proposals and gives their recommendations for stamp selections to the postmaster general.

The grassroots effort to help Chamberlain receive a postage stamp began with a sports column in The Tribune on Feb. 15, 2008. The six-year campaign for the 7-foot-1, 275-pound basketball star produced more than 65,000 signatures on petitions in support of Chamberlain getting his likeness on a postage stamp.

A year ago, a luncheon was held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his 100-point game. On March 2, 1962, Chamberlain scored 100 points leading the Philadelphia Warriors to a 169-147 victory over the New York Knicks in Hershey. In that game, he shot 36-for-63 from the field and 28-for-32 from the free throw line.

Chamberlain scored 31,419 points and grabbed 23,924 rebounds during his NBA career. He won two NBA championships. He guided the Philadelphia 76ers to an NBA title during the 1966-67 season and led the Los Angeles Lakers to a league crown in the 1971-72 season.

As a college basketball player, he was an All-American at the University of Kansas. He scored 52 points and grabbed 31 rebounds in his first varsity basketball game. In 1957, he led Kansas to the NCAA Finals and was named MVP of the Final Four.

He had a tremendous high school career at Overbrook leading them to three Public League and two city championships. Chamberlain scored 2,252 points in his scholastic career.

If approved by the U.S. Postal Service, Chamberlain will join sports legends such as Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby, Joe Louis and Jesse Owens who were honored with postage stamps. He will also be the first basketball player to have his image on a postage stamp.

-Donald Hunt, The Philadelphia Tribune