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Chamberlain deserves postal stamp

by Donald Hunt
Originally published in The Philadelphia Tribune

He was larger than life at 7-foot-1 and 275 pounds. Chamberlain played for the Harlem Globetrotters, Philadelphia Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers. He holds numerous NBA records, setting marks in scoring, rebounding and other categories.

The former Overbrook High and Kansas star is the only NBA player in league history to average 50 points a game. He won seven scoring titles, 11 rebounding championships and even led the NBA in assists one season.

Chamberlain won two NBA titles. He carried the 1966-67 76ers to the league championship. He helped the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers win an NBA crown. He earned four Most Valuable Player awards, one MVP Finals award and was selected to 13 all-star games and 10 All-NBA first and second teams.

Needless to say, Chamberlain put his stamp on the game. That’s why he should have his picture on a commemorative United States Postage Stamp.

There are a number of sports legends that have had their photographs on stamps such as Jackie Robinson (1982) Jesse Owens (1990) Satchel Paige (2000) and Wilma Rudolph (2004). Chamberlain should join this list of great athletes and have his own stamp.

The U.S. Postal Service has a selection process determining the eligibility of people for commemoration on all U.S. stamps and stationery. The postal service has a Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) that sets up the criteria.

According to the postal service, commemorative stamps or postal stationery items honoring individuals usually will be issued on, or in conjunction with significant anniversaries of their birth, but no postal item will be issued sooner than five years after the individual’s death.

The committee will not accept or consider proposals for a subject until at least three years after his/her death. The only exception to the five-year rule is the issuance of stamps honoring deceased U.S. presidents. They may be honored with a memorial stamp on the first birth anniversary following death.

Chamberlain passed away on Oct. 12, 1999. He certainly meets all the requirements. Jimmy Sadler and Vince Miller, teammates of Chamberlain at Overbrook High School and Chamberlain’s sister, Selina Gross (who is married to Claude Gross, former Ben Franklin High basketball star) would like to see his image on a stamp.

“I think that would be fantastic,” Sadler said. “I think playing in the NBA is one of his greatest accomplishments other than averaging 50 points a game and scoring 100 points in a game. I think that would be great having his picture on a stamp.”

“It would be well-deserved having his pictured on a stamp,” Miller said. “It’s well worth it. I think it’s a great idea.”

“I think it’s a great thing,” Gross said. “We need to honor more people who have done great things in our society. It’s honor to hear that they’re trying to get a postage stamp for him.”

On March 1962, Chamberlain put together an unbelievable performance becoming the first player to score 100 points in a NBA game. The Warriors defeated the New York Knicks on that night 169-147. The image of Chamberlain holding up the 100-point sign would be a nice photo for his stamp.

“That’s a fantastic photo,” Sadler said. “It’s a good shot of him with his biggest accomplishment.”

To get Chamberlain’s face on a stamp, fans can send a letter to the following address:

Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, c/o Stamp Development
U.S. Postal Service
1735 North Lynn St., Suite 5013
Arlington, VA 22209-6432.

People should remember the great ones. They don’t come any bigger or better than Wilt Chamberlain.