Before entering the NBA, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar received mentoring from Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain. The relationship led to many close interactions between the two all-time greats. One memorable situation still sits prominently in Abdul-Jabbar’s mind involving Chamberlain spitting on a fan in an elevator.
WIlt Chamberlain’s illustrious NBA career
Chamberlain played 14 NBA seasons where he earned recognition as one of the game’s greatest players.
The Philadelphia native dominated much of his era behind his sheer power and size, allowing him to set numerous NBA records that still stand firm today. Chamberlain won a pair of NBA titles and a Finals MVP award, earned four regular-season MVP awards and 13 All-Star game selections, and received 10 All-NBA Team selections.
His scoring prowess remains unmatched in NBA history as he’s the only player to record 100 points in a single game and average more than 40 points per contest. He’s also the only player to average at least 30 points and 20 points in a single campaign, which he accomplished seven times.
Chamberlain led the league in scoring seven times and rebounding on 11 occasions and remains the only player to average at least 30 and 20 rebounds over an entire career. He remains firmly entrenched in the discussion of not only as arguably the greatest big men but best players in league history.
However, it wasn’t always smooth sailing for the all-time great as he had his fair share of memorable incidents off the court.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar revealed Wilt Chamberlain once spat on a fan in an elevator
Chamberlain was never a person that hid his emotions on and off the court.
He was quite brash and blunt with his personality, regardless of the setting. During an interview for the “Minority of One” HBO documentary, fellow Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recounted a memorable incident with Chamberlain involving a rude fan on an elevator.
“I got on an elevator with Wilt, and as the elevator was going down, some guy gets on and says ‘oh wow, how’s the weather up there?’” Abdul-Jabbar said. “He said that to Wilt. Wilt spat on the dude and said ‘it’s raining.’ I was like ‘oh my god what is all of this about?”
It’s likely Chamberlain dealt with nonsense like that for many years and may have had enough at that moment. However, it was a moment that completely shocked Abdul-Jabbar, who looked up to him as his idol. Chamberlain took Abdul-Jabbar under his wing during his teenage years and helped mold him into the star collegiate talent and eventual NBA colleague.
However, the relationship between the two became rocky due to Chamberlain’s often public criticism directed toward the fellow star big man. His actions in the elevator weren’t something that his mentee approved of, and he remains surprised that he responded in that manner. Ultimately, it’s one of those incidents that sits forever stapled into his mind for better or worse.
NBA Legacy remains forever strong
Chamberlain was much more than a dominant force on the basketball court.
He played a pivotal part in shaping the NBA while influencing the generations of talent that followed. Chamberlain had a tremendous impact on talented big men after him, such as Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, and David Robinson. He forever changed the game behind skill while inspiring others, hoping to replicate his sheer dominance.
Chamberlain’s impact will always be felt as many of his NBA records may never be broken. Beyond that, his place in league history is forever cemented.