The Way We Look at Giants

The Big Dipper dominated his game, but carried an oversize burden

It ought to be remembered that, as indisputably great a player as Wilt Chamberlain was, he often evoked a public awe closer to loathing than admiration. "No one roots for Goliath," he lamented to his Los Angeles Lakers teammate Jerry West. The observation was both personally felt and generally interesting in what it says about the way people look at giants. Size (which matters) is an accident of biology, but we tend to treat it as an implicit assault on the averageness of the rest of us--a potential menace, an insulting excess--and there is a universal desire to see the big...

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