By Barry Janoff
December 4, 2014: With the team's first win of the 2014-15 season under its belt, the 1-17 Philadelphia 76ers can now focus on a more glorious time in their hisotry with an event that will honor one of the greatest players in NBA history.
During halftime of the team's game on Friday night (Dec. 5) against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Sixers and the U.S. Postal Service, with cooperation from the NBA, will formally dedicate the Wilt Chamberlain Forever Stamps in a halftime ceremony.
In addition, the USPS is hosting a Twitter "huddle" prior to and then during the game. (Details here.)
The stamps, which are an oversized two-inches tall (to reflect Chamberlain's 7'1" stature), are the first USPS stamps to feature an NBA player. They go on sale Dec. 5 in a variety of options.
Two versions of the Chamberlain show him in a Philadelphia Warriors jersey and in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform, respectively.
The stamps come six years after Donald Hunt, a veteran sportswriter for the Philadelphia Tribune, initiated a campaign to immortalize Chamberlain on a U.S. postage stamp
Chamberlain, who passed away in 1999 at the age of 63, played for the Philadelphia Warriors (1959-62), the relocated San Francisco Warriors (1963-mid-65), was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers (mid-1965-1968), then was traded to the and finished his NBA career with the Lakers (1968-1973).
He won an NBA title with the Sixers in 1966-67 and the Lakers in 1971-72.
According to the team, the halftime dedication ceremony will feature the use of the Sixers’ 3-D court projection system in a new video. Scheduled to attend are Chamberlain’s sisters, Barbara Lewis and Selina Gross, whowill take part in the ceremony, as will Sixers' legends Julius "Dr. J" Erving and Wali Jones, Sixers' advisor Sonny Hill and Sixers Director of Statistical Information Harvey "Super Stat" Pollack.
All fans attending the game will receive a commemorative poster featuring images of Chamberlain from his career as well as an image of the stamps, according to the Sixers.
Part of the event might recall Chamberlain's NBA-record 100-point game (March 2, 1962) but likely will overlook the infamous claim in his book, A View From Above, that he slept with 20,000 women.
"It is an honor to be a part of history as we dedicate this stamp and celebrate the great Wilt Chamberlain with his family, friends and teammates," Scott O’Neil, CEO for the Sixers, said in a statement. "That he is the first NBA player to be featured on a United States Postal Service stamp speaks to the untouchable legacy he left behind on the court, and we are proud to call him a Sixer."
Antonio Alcalá, an art director from Alexandria, VA, designed the stamps; Kadir Nelson, of San Diego, CA, created the two stamp image portraits, according to the USPS.
Among the products are a 18.5 x 27.5-inch press sheet with die-cuts, containing nine panes of 18 Wilt Chamberlain Forever stamps positioned two across by four down ($70.56); a First Day Cover set of two stamps ($1.86); and a set of 18 Forever stamps ($12.95).
During his NBA career, Chamberlain won two NBA titles (1967, 1972), was a four-time MVP and a member of 13 All-Star Games.
Chamberlain, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1979, scored 31,419 points during his career (currently fifth all-time) and holds the rebounding record with 23,924.