Summer Premier Auction 2020

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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 8/28/2020

The first time Wilt Chamberlain suited up an NBA uniform for a game was September 30, 1959. The Philadelphia Warriors and St. Louis Hawks squared off in an exhibition contest at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. Offered here is an official program, the first one we've ever seen and the only known example at this point. It presents in wonderful, EX-NM condition, with bright colors on the front cover and no folds or major creases. The back cover is in even better shape. The score card (blank) in the middle of the program is the only loose sheet, having cleanly separated from the stapled binding. No handwriting appears on any page. Full team rosters, player images and several bios are included. There is a two-page spread (pgs. 11-12) with images of Wilt the Stilt showing off his impressive wingspan alongside a full page article documenting his storied high school and college career. Not much was documented in the media about the game, but we did dig up an archived article that reported a 106-102 Warriors victory with The Big Dipper tallying 28 points in his official preseason debut. He would go on to enjoy the most dominant rookie season by any athlete in any sport, averaging 37.6 points and 27 rebounds per game.

One very intriguing side note in this program is a clever caricature game promo ad on the third page showing a giant-sized Wilt challenging the Hawks' Bob Petit (NBA's defending scoring champ in 1958-59) with the L.A. Sports Arena taking the form of the rim and basket. The caption at the top reads, "If you want Major League Basketball in So. California don't miss the St. Louis Hawks vs. Philadelphia Warriors game Sept. 30th!! The L.A. Jets are sponsoring the first N.B.A. game ever played in Los Angeles to convince the N.B.A. this area deserves a professional franchise." Caricatures of L.A. Jets owner Bing Crosby and NBA President Maurice Podoloff are pictured gesturing from above. So not only was this Chamberlain's first taste of the NBA, it was the first for the City of Angels as well. The exhibition game must have been a big success as it helped pave the way for the Minneapolis Lakers to move into this very arena one year later. Wilt would be wearing the purple and gold within a decade.

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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $750
Final prices include buyers premium.: $2,573
Number Bids: 12
Auction closed on Friday, August 28, 2020.
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