October Legends Closing October 29
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 10/30/2016

     Coming out of Overbrook High School in Philadelphia in 1955, Wilt Chamberlain had earned the nicknames “Wilt the Stilt”, “Goliath” and “The Big Dipper” in leading his Panthers to two city championships during his high school career all while averaging 37.4 points per game. During his summer vacations, Chamberlain would work as a bellhop at Kutsher’s Hotel near Monticello, New York, which happened to be the Catskills home of legendary Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach.

     Back in the early days of the NBA, players would be drafted based on territory or “Territorial Picks”. Teams would be able to forfeit their first round draft pick before the draft to select a player within a 50-mile radius of the home arena. This practice continued until it was done away with in 1966 and players that were selected as “Territorial Picks” included Hall of Famers Oscar Robertson, Tom Heinsohn, and Jerry Lucas. As Chamberlain’s legend grew coming out of high school, he was courted by hundreds of colleges. The savvy Auerbach, who would see Chamberlain at the Kutscher’s Hotel in the summer, tried to convince the phenom to go to a New England school.

    Chamberlain was looking for a change of scenery and eliminated the Northeast schools, which included New England and New York schools. After visiting Kansas University and legendary coach Phog Allen, Chamberlain decided to play for the Jayhawks at Kansas. Chamberlain would never play for Allen under Kansas as the coach would retire before Chamberlain’s sophomore season (freshmen were not allowed to play). Chamberlain was a First Team All-American selection and led the Jayhawks to the NCAA finals against North Carolina during his sophomore season, where they lost 52-51 to the Tar Heels. His junior year he earned First Team All-American, but his Jayhawks finished second in the league and were not invited to the NCAA tournament. After losing enjoyment with college basketball, mostly due to being double and triple-teamed each game, along with teams incorporating freeze-ball tactics, Chamberlain left college. He would sell his story for the book called “Why I Am Leaving College” to Look Magazine for $10,000, which was more than the $9,000 a professional player was earning. Before he could enter the NBA, due to the restriction of having to complete school or sit out a full year, Chamberlain joined the traveling Harlem Globetrotters.

     Finally, Chamberlain was able to make his pro debut with his hometown Philadelphia Warriors in 1959 and was paid a NBA high $30,000 for his rookie contract. Interestingly, Eddie Gottlieb, known as “Mr. Basketball” and “The Mogul” bought the Philadelphia Warriors in 1951. After serving as coach and general manager under former owner Peter Tyrrell, whose team was a charter member of the Basketball Association of America in 1946, Gottlieb paid $25,000 for the team. Chamberlain would earn his money and then some by averaging 37.6 points per game and 27 rebounds per game, which easily broke the previous regular season records and only needed 56 games to break the 2,101 point plateau set by Bob Petit, who did that in 72 games.

     Chamberlain was now entering his second season as a pro. Chamberlain had talked about retiring due to his constant double and triple-teaming, the rough play, and jeers from the crowds. However, Gottlieb convinced Chamberlain to sign another contract and sweetened the deal to $50,000.

     Goldin Auctions is proud to offer the earliest known contract for the great Wilt Chamberlain. This slightly toned 8 ½ x 14 inch contract is in immaculate condition with only the four fold marks for envelope use and minor toning due to age. The $50,000 contract for the 1960-61 season is typed in black and reads in part:

     “THIS AGREEMENT made this 2nd day of August 1960 by and between Philadelphia Warriors, Inc. (hereinafter called the Club), a member of the National Basketball Association, and Wilton N. Chamberlain of the City, Town of Philadelphia, PA. (hereinafter called the Player).”

     This fully executed contract is signed under “Philadelphia Warriors, Inc.” at the bottom right of the page by Edward Gottlieb the President of the Warriors and Wilt Chamberlain in blue pen. Also appearing on the document is a red stamp “RECEIVED & RECORDED MAY 2, 1961 PRESIDENT” and witnessed by Isaac Richman “Ike”, who was Chamberlain’s lawyer and confidant. Chamberlain would go on to average 38.4 points per game and 27.2 rebounds per game in 1960-61, his second season. He was the first player to break the 3,000 point barrier and is still the only player to surpass 2,000 rebounds in a single-season with his 2,149. This historic contract comes directly from the Gottlieb Estate and also comes with a full LOA from PSA/DNA.

Historic 1960-61 Philadelphia Warriors Wilt Chamberlain Signed Contract- Fully Executed - Earliest Existing Contract(Eddie Gottlieb Estate) - Immaculate Condition!  (PSA/DNA)
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $10,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $31,200.00
Estimate: $40,000+
Number Bids: 13
Auction closed on Sunday, October 30, 2016.
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