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How Wilt Chamberlain potentially lost $500 million after the death of Ike Richman

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How Wilt Chamberlain potentially lost millions after the death of Ike Richman

Richman allegedly offered Wilt 25% ownership of the 76ers. But the deal fell through after Ike collapsed at courtside before the Philadelphia-Boston game started in December 1965

Wilt Chamberlain could have been several million richer if a deal with former Philadelphia 76ers owner Ike Richman had pushed through. But unfortunately, tragedy struck before things fell into place.

Ike Richman and Wilt Chamberlain

Philadelphia 76ers fans should thank Ike Richman for buying the team and naming it the Philadelphia 76ers. Richman and Irv Kosloff acquired the Syracuse Nationals in 1963 and co-owned the team. However, Richman suffered a heart attack in 1965 and relinquished his position after only two years.

Richman was more than just an owner. He also served as the personal attorney of Wilt Chamberlain. It was no wonder that the two formed a close bond together. And Ike was credited for bringing in Chamberlain to the 76ers. Wilt claimed Richman was like a father to him, and he also formed close ties with the owner's family. However, the two were closer than they appeared to be.

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Richman allegedly offered Wilt 25% ownership of the 76ers. But the deal fell through after Ike collapsed at courtside before the Philadelphia-Boston game started in December 1965. Kosloff didn't want to honor the agreement between Ike and Wilt, so The Big Dipper went on to play for the L.A. Lakers once his contract with the 76ers expired.

Another caveat in the deal: an active player is forbidden to own an NBA team. So if the deal pushed through, Chamberlain had to wait after his retirement to become the 76ers part-owner, per Basketball Mecca.

Chamberlain potentially lost millions

Had the deal pushed through, it could have made Wilt several million richer today. The 76ers are now valued at $2.45 billion. The former Lakers legend could have made as much as $612 million.

Aside from NBA salary, The Big Dipper also made some successful crossover to show business. He had his own production company called "Go For It." Because of his size and menacing presence, he was tapped to play the villain in the movie "Conan the Destroyer."

Wilt Chamberlain's net worth was around $10 million when he passed away. The extra millions would have certainly helped along the way. But without it, he remained a multi-millionaire that lived the rest of his life in comfort. There is no doubt Wilt would have wished his trusted friend didn't die in 1965, not because of the promised deal, but because of their bond. Who knows, Wilt might have stayed in Philly and helped the team win several titles along the way. 

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