Sport: Big Man Among Men

Never in the history of pro basketball has a rookie walked on the court to such trumpeting ballyhoo. When Lew Alcindor joined the Milwaukee Bucks this fall, he was proclaimed an instant superstar, another Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain—or both rolled into one. At 7 ft. 1½ in.. Alcindor is the tallest man in a big man's game, and his brilliance at center for U.C.L.A.—2,325 career points, three-time All-America, three national champion teams—was all on the record. How could he miss?

In years past, Alcindor might already have made a shambles of the National...

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