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

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:

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

Thrust into bigger role, Sixers' Holmes stars in win over Wizards

Thrust into bigger role, Sixers' Holmes stars in win over Wizards

BOX SCORE

For as much as the Sixers’ bigs are talked about, Richaun Holmes often is left out of the conversation. 

He’s not the centerpiece of the team like Joel Embiid nor was he heavily involved in trade talks like Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. He is the backup center who bides his time on the bench and quietly stays ready when he gets the nod.

And on Friday, he was the standout player in the Sixers’ 120-112 win over the Wizards (see Instant Replay)

“He’s been sort of the person that people forget about because of the logjam of five men,” Brett Brown said. “We all sort of think, ‘Well, he should just accept it because he’s behind Joel and Nerlens and Jahlil. Good ol’ Richaun. Go to the D-League and it’s OK.’ And that doesn’t work. He’s a pro, he’s competitive. He’s handled it. He’s really been a wonderful teammate.”

Holmes was bumped up in the rotation following the trade of Noel to the Mavs. He moved into the second-unit role while Okafor started in place of the injured Embiid. 

Holmes recorded his first double-double with 12 points (6 for 9 from the field) and 10 rebounds (three offensive). He also blocked a career-high five shots, tying Embiid for the most by a Sixer this season. The second-year big man put together this impressive performance in 26 minutes off the bench. 

“Just play hard,” Holmes said of his approach. “Just go out there, show what you’ve been working on, play hard every second you’re out there. That’s the motto I’ve got.”

Holmes is averaging 16.1 minutes and has appeared in just 32 of the Sixers’ 57 games. This season he also spent time with the Delaware 87ers of the Development League to get playing time. Holmes embraced an opportunity similar to Friday’s a month ago when he scored 18 points in as many minutes against the Clippers. 

“I try to approach every game this season the same way, whether everybody was playing or people were hurt,” Holmes said. “Prepare like I’m going to play 30 minutes a game. I think having that mindset helped me to stay ready at all times and be aggressive when I had a chance.”

Brown did not rule out the possibility that Holmes could start at some point if he continues this production. The Sixers are limiting Okafor to 20 to 24 minutes per game, according to Brown. That, combined with Embiid’s injury, could lend itself to an increased role for Holmes. 

“I think in that environment, it wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary for Richaun to get a start from time to time,” Brown said. 

Even if he remains on the second unit, Holmes proved he can provide a spark off the bench. Dario Saric noted how Holmes’ impact on both ends of the floor bolsters the frontcourt in addition to a more offensively-minded Okafor (11 points, two rebounds). 

“I think he played unbelievably good in both ways,” Saric said. “Everybody knows he’s an elite guy finishing around the rim, and he stepped in Nerlens’ place, he replaced him unbelievably good. I hope he will get the same minutes for the next game because we have Jahlil, who is more like a post-up player, who likes more to score from the low-post block, and we for sure need some guy like Richaun who will play in both ways." 

Perhaps the person least surprised by Holmes' game was Holmes himself. It was the result he puts in long hours to produce.

“It’s all about the grind,” he said. “All about keep working, keep trying to move up, keep trying to get better every second and it’ll pay off.” 

Ilya Bryzgalov talks goalies playing in contract year, Las Vegas and more

Ilya Bryzgalov talks goalies playing in contract year, Las Vegas and more

Gotta love Bryz, right?

Former Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov was his usual humorous, unpredictable self in a recent interview with Sportsnet.ca's Luke Fox.

From what he's doing now to talking pressure as a goalie, here are some of the highlights ...

On a goalie's mental state when job security is up in the air (referenced to Flyers goalie Steve Mason)
“So many goalies take the job for a long time, so it’s easy to be out of game. You worry. You want to find a long-term job, pay bills. It’s not a secret. That’s why when there’s no [contractual] certainty and you don’t see 100 percent confidence from your team, it might affect your game. If the season’s not going well, you start thinking about it.”

On his son playing goalie
"He chose it. He’s the guy who gives his team a chance to win. Make some saves. But he plays as a player once a week, too. Shoots the puck on goalies every Wednesday pretty much.”

On being a hockey dad
“I’m pretty calm. I only get upset when I see the referees make the bad calls. The kids work so hard and play so passionately, you can’t take sides. Only when the referee’s unfair.”

On being a pro hockey player in Las Vegas
"I’m family guy, settled down. I’ve never been too emotional or casino-addicted. For me, no problem. For the young guys to play there, it causes trouble, man. Difficult trouble. … The young ones with the cash? Las Vegas can provide lots of scenes, know what I mean?"

The rest is just as good. For the full Q&A, read Fox's article right here.

Also, Bryzgalov will be a part of Sportsnet's trade deadline coverage next Wednesday.

And side note: Bryz remains active on Twitter. And remains random as ever.

Just look at his last tweet ...