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Jerry West on Wilt Chamberlain’s jaw-dropping appetite ”I have no idea how a man could eat that much”

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We have another entry to the list of many legendary feats of Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain - extreme eating. Wilt’s Lakers teammate Jerry West witnessed it all unfold and shared the incredible story. 

Wilt consumed food good for 10 people 

If you think you know Wilt Chamberlain enough, you’ll be in for a surprise. The man just never runs out of legendary stories. This time, it involves his voracious appetite, a stark contrast to how professional athletes should maintain their diet. 

Lakers teammate Jerry West recalled an instance where he visited Wilt in his hotel room and couldn’t believe what he saw. 

I open the door and he’s got a towel tied around his neck, [and] he’s got a pair of basketball shorts on. That’s all he had on. I look around and I said, ‘Oh my God, what is this guy doing?’ There were three [giant] racks of ribs, there were six 7 Ups — he drank 7 Up like it was water. There were two one-pound brisket sandwiches. … Coleslaw, potato salad, barbecued beans, barbecued chicken. I’m sitting there thinking, ‘Oh my God, what’s going to happen here tonight?’”

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“I think there was about half of one of these 7 Ups left. I said, ‘Have you been working out?’ Nope. I said, ‘How in the hell are you going to play tomorrow night?’ … Well, he goes out and gets 25 rebounds. And when I left there that night, his towel [made it look] like he was pregnant. I have no idea how a man could eat that much.”

Jerry West, Sportscasting

That was sure a feast good enough for at least ten people, and Chamberlain downed it like it was nothing. What’s more astonishing was how he still got the job done the very next day. For everyone still on record saying that Wilt, not LeBron, was the most athletically gifted player in the history of the NBA, this story helps them make their case.

Wilt didn’t give a single care in the world and just did what he wanted to do - feasting on the night before a game would give LeBron James’ dietician and trainers a heart attack. But, no matter how many basketball conventions Wilt broke, he always backed it up with solid performances on the court.

Wilt Chamberlain stories never end

From sleeping with a lot of women (20.000 according to Wilt), having a room in his house that’s 100% waterbed surrounded by mirrors called “The Do It Room,” to going on cross country road trips by himself - Wilt’s off-court adventures can match anyone you’ve heard of.

But let’s not let that cloud the most important stories about Wilt are those made on the basketball court. Wilt’s athleticism was his foundation - a God-given talent that was maximized with hard work. But Chamberlain wasn’t just a big athletic guy. He understood basketball and knew how to play it.

When guys like Kareem say just watching you play a pick-up game was a priceless lesson in winning basketball games, you’re doing something special.

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