Wilt Chamberlain was one of the rare basketball superstars who impacted basketball and other things he did during his life. Wilt was a force of nature, and even to this day, we’ve rarely seen a player with the same kind of physical dominance except maybe Shaquille O’Neal.
In his 13-year-long career, Wilt racked up many NBA records that are still standing to this date, and many of them will probably never be broken. Yet, despite being a dominant force and one of the best players in NBA history, Wilt was knowledgeable and well-spoken, and on top of that, he was an avid fan of the NBA many years after his retirement.
When Michael Jordan was still actively playing and winning championships in the NBA, Wilt was often asked who is better between the two. Even though he never admitted Jordan was better, he did give Jordan credit for popularizing basketball on an international level. Wilt said Jordan was the one who was solely responsible for the popularity of basketball and how every guy in the NBA should be thankful to Jordan for having big contracts.
“I think the only guy that is worth the money he is making is Michael Jordan. I think he should get 10 percent of every guy’s contract. He made basketball exciting and what it is, so young guys like Allen Iverson who plays for the 76ers and has no respect for anybody he should be getting his hat off to Michael Jordan.”Wilt Chamberlain, via Late Night With Conan O’Brien
The things Wilt said during the interview make a lot of sense because in the early 90’s Michael Jordan instantly became a global brand, propelling the NBA league and its earnings. When he retired, the NBA established itself as one of the most profitable leagues globally, which eventually affected the rise in players’ salaries. Jordan’s immense popularity at the time created an avalanche effect that impacted others as well.