Story time: Wilt Chamberlain feared death by soda poisoning, a tape of the 100-point game exists, and one man did actually die in his seat at the Vet

Story time: Wilt Chamberlain feared death by soda poisoning, a tape of the 100-point game exists, and one man did actually die in his seat at the Vet
January 12, 2014, 10:59 am
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Wilt trusted milk. Soda, not so much. (AP)

A reel-to-reel tape of Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game exists. But like so much else about Wilt's career, no one's sure where the damn thing is.

You may not be familiar with him, but Josh Pastner is the head coach of the Memphis University basketball team. His No. 24 Tigers -- who will be ranked higher come Monday -- came away with a 79-69 win over Temple Saturday at the Apollo.

Pastner was born in West Virginia and grew up in Texas but his parents are locals, and he ended up needing 40 tickets for all his friends and family yesterday. After the game, a reporter asked him about his ties to the area. I'm going to get out of the way and let you read. The bolded emphasis is our own:

My father was the ball boy for the 76ers for many, many years, and he and Wilt Chamberlain were very close. ... And Wilt Chamberlain always felt somebody was trying to get him on timeouts with assassination through drinking. And he drank 7-Up or Sprite, one of the two. And my dad always had to taste it before Wilt-- He made my father drink it before [he] would taste it to make sure my dad didn't conk out.But Wilt took care of my father. They always went around. Like my dad said, he never had a front seat; Wilt sat in the back when he was driving because his legs were so long.

And in fact, my father and his father taped the game reel-to-reel in the second quarter when it was in Hershey, Pennsylvania in the 100-point game. They started when he had like 30-something; they thought it was going to be a special night. They gave it to Wilt -- the 100-point game -- and Wilt gave it back to my dad and my dad's dad. He gave it back to them, they boxed it up, and he's still trying to find it. He's got all kinds of boxes, and he doesn't know if he lost it. He's trying to find the sucker. ... I mean he's got jerseys of Wilt, pictures.

In fact, my grandfather, he's deceased now. The one that's out there now got remarried. But the deceased one, my dad's official dad, he was a season ticket holder for the Eagles, and he actually died in his seat. He didn't miss a game but for two times, one time he was in the army and one time he was sick. But he died in his seat, had a heart attack. My dad and I were watching the game, the Eagles vs. the Cowboys. We were at home watching the game and he got a call -- I was sitting next to him -- that his dad had died, heart attack in his seat. And the Eagles actually have a name on that seat, because he was a 40-some-odd-year season-ticket holder and only missed two games in his career.

So our roots go way back. I mean, Mike Schmidt. I could go on and on ...

It was at this point that everyone in the room started laughing because there just hadn't been an opportunity to get a word in otherwise. Pastner was just going. Dennis Deitch of the Delco Daily Times asked him when the grandfather died.

That was in the late 90s, yeah, the late 90s. So I could go on and on about Philly sports. Philly fans are great. Sports here are great. Temple basketball, I know the history and tradition here, we were just very fortunate to get a win.

In summation:

  • Wilt Chamberlain was convinced someone was trying to kill mid-game with poisoned soda
  • A reel-to-reel tape of Wilt's 100-point game may or may not exist in a box somewhere
  • And somebody, Pastner's grandfather, did actually die in their seat in the Vet. That's not just something people joke about -- "Oh that guy will be here for forever. He'll die in his seat!" -- that actually happened.

Tweets from amused reporters:

This is either insane, or would be the biggest sports find ever if it exists, because there is no video record of Wilt's 100-point game.

— Dennis Deitch (@DennisDeitch) January 12, 2014

I don't know what to think about this Wilt story. I'd shrug it off if it came from some crazy old man on the BSL. But this is a D-I coach!

— Dennis Deitch (@DennisDeitch) January 12, 2014

Josh Pastner does not require questions, will tell you his family history.

— Nick Menta (@cnmenta) January 11, 2014

Wilt thought somebody was trying to sabotage him via his drinks. Pastner's father was forced to taste his 7-up before Wilt would drink it.

— Kyle Gauss (@kylegauss) January 11, 2014

"I could go on and on ..." You already have, Josh. You already have. But it was good stuff.

— OwlScoop.com (@OwlScoop_com) January 11, 2014

Also, a good point here from our own Dave Zeitlin:

@cnmenta too bad the press conference ended before Pastner could talk about his family members training Stallone during the filming of Rocky

— Dave Zeitlin (@DaveZeitlin) January 12, 2014

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