When I met WILT CHAMBERLAIN, he was a sophomore basketball star at Kansas and I was starting out with the Boston Celtics. I could tell we had much in common. Obviously, we were both very tall, which gave us a shared perspective on the world. At a very young age we had each learned certain defense mechanisms to protect ourselves from people who might want us to be something we were not. With Wilt, there was always a lot of bravado on the outside, but he was basically a bright, pretty shy guy with whom I could share a conversation and a good laugh. We could always be ourselves with each other. Once we were going head to head in the NBA, everyone wanted to make it seem as though Wilt and I were enemies. That was far from reality. The older we got, the more we liked each other. Through the years I was always pleased when I'd answer the phone and hear, "Hello, Felton, this is Norman [our middle names]." Sometimes our calls would take us late into the night. We would talk about politics, spiritual things, even basketball. Ultimately we came to realize that we shared much more than just height. We shared an understanding of the road we had traveled. Playing basketball was never who we were. It was only what we did. I'll miss you, Norman.
--BILL RUSSELL, Hall of Fame Boston Celtic Center