Own a Piece of Wilt Chamberlain History — for Just a Few Million Bucks!

Plus: the Working Family Party eyes GOP seats, and a six-year-old Montco mullet connoisseur.

wilt chamberlain lakers jersey

Wilt Chamberlain’s 1972 championship jersey is up for auction / Photographs courtesy of Sotheby’s

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Own a Piece of Los Angeles, Errrr, Philadelphia History

We don’t spend too much time around here discussing the 1972 Los Angeles Lakers. (Part of that is geography, time, and loyalty; the other part is that the team swept the five games they played against the Sixers that year.) But when the story involves the greatest basketball player to ever come from Philly, due to the Journalistic Oath, we have to begrudgingly report the news.

Sotheby’s just put up for auction Wilt Chamberlain’s 1972 NBA Finals Game 5 championship-clinching jersey, which apparently hasn’t been viewed publicly since that night, May 7, 1972.

I don’t know if it was washed or still smells like the 24 points, 29 rebounds, eight blocks and eight assists Chamberlain put up that night, all while playing with a broken wrist. But I do know it’s estimated to fetch upwards of $4 million.

There’s only one other Overbrook High alum I can think of who might be able to spring for it …

Further Proof of the Magic of Rec Centers

Every morning, I drop my daughter off at one of the dozens of Philly Parks and Rec summer camps that dot the city. She’s a bit of a street rat and loves that the camp lets her explore and bump elbows with kids from across our corner of South Philly. Which is why I was so enthralled by this beautiful column and photo essay in today’s New York Times, written by Philly poet laureate Airea D. Matthews and photographed by Adrian Eli René.

It leads with the question “Where can our children safely play?,” which reminded me of our July cover story.

Working Families Party Eyes Council, Commission Seats

The party, which unexpectedly earned a City Council seat with Kendra Brooks’s at-large win in 2019, is now attempting a knockout blow of the city GOP. (Two at-large seats are reserved for the non-majority party.) Nicolas O’Rourke — who finished just 7,000 votes behind Republican David Oh for the final at-large seat in 2019—again joins Brooks in the City Council race, while Jarrett Smith hopes to fill the City Commission minority seat currently held by Republican Seth Bluestein.

MontCo Six-Year-Old Advances in Mullet Competition

Rory Ehrlich is the champion we all need right now, and I beg you to watch this video.

And from the Comeback-Whack Sports Desk …

Volleyball night! By the time it got too dark for us to play, the Phils were only down 1-0 in the seventh even though starter Ranger Suárez had given up 10 hits, Yunior Marte was in for relief, and some Marlin had just hit a triple. Marte walked the next batter to load the bases, then managed to get an infield fly and a long ball that Brandon Marsh caught at the wall — man, he’s been good in the field lately — to get out of the inning. All right, then! In the eighth, Marsh and Stott both grounded out and Johan Rojas went down swinging vs. Marlins starter Sandy Alcántara, who miraculously was still in the game. (He’d only given up four hits and a pair of walks in all that time. Old-school!) Gregory Soto came in for the bottom of the eighth and gave up a single, then let the runner advance on a wild pitch, but that was all. On to the ninth — last chance, Phils!

David Robertson, who was a Phillie for last season’s World Series run, came in for Alcántara and faced Kyle Schwarber, once a dopey fan who’d gotten onto the field finished running around like a wounded deer.

“Maybe it’ll throw off Robertson’s rhythm,” Ruben Amaro Jr. postulated. Schwarbs worked the count full with a couple foul balls, then notched a walk. Jake Cave came in to pinch-run for him as Alec Bohm came to bat; he worked a full count, too, but struck out. Bryce Harper’s turn. He hit a long fly that the outfielder couldn’t quite catch, and a hustling Cave came around to score — tie game, and Harper at second! Nick Castellanos came up — and damn if he didn’t wallop a two-run homer. Man, I tuned in at the right time!

Stott hit a long fly that was caught, bringing up Trea Turner, who hit an easy fly. Seranthony took the mound for the bottom half, and Phils fans’ hearts were beating. He got two high flies and a strikeout. Whee! The Phils were so happy, the Daycare Crew didn’t even give Nick a bath. One last game in the series, tonight at 6:40.

The Phils also made some trades. New in town: infielder Rodolfo Castro, from the Pirates, and pitcher Michael Lorenzen, from the Tigers. Outta here: pitcher Bailey Falter (man, I hate to see his name go) and infielder Hao-Yu Lee, from the minors. Designated for assignment: once-promising pitcher Noah Song.

And in Other Sports …

The U.S. women just barely stayed afloat in the World Cup with a 0-0 squeaker vs. lowly Portugal that started at 3 a.m. yesterday morning. I did not see the game.

All Philly Today sports coverage is provided by Sandy Hingston.