While Congress dithers with the self-created debt crisis and the fiscal stability of the country, some members of Congress have carelessly overlooked the outrageous absence of Overbrook's basketball legend, Wilt Chamberlain, on a U.S. postal stamp.
Today U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, the Philadelphia Democrat and chair of his party's City Committee, joined the drive for a Wilt stamp, issuing a letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahue himself, urging attention to the matter.
"I believe that honoring Wilt Chamberlain with a commemorative stamp would be a more than appropriate way to celebrate his legendary career and athletic accomplishments," Brady wrote of the NBA Hall of Famer and Overbrook High School product who died in 1999, "and I express my sincerest hope that the US Postal Service will recognize Wilt Chamberlain and his historic 100-point game in the 2012 stamp collection."
Actually, Brady was beaten to the ball by U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, another Overbrook guy, who jumped on this issue June 29, well before Tuesday's debt-default deadline.
Here's Fattah's letter to the Postmaster General:
Dear Mr. Donahoe:
FIFTY. ONE HUNDRED.
Two large, round numbers that relate significantly to another "large" number – seven-foot-one. Wilt Chamberlain, even in the quintessential big man's game of basketball, was larger than his on-the-court contemporaries and truly larger than life. That is why a campaign stretching far beyond his home court advantage of Philadelphia has been gathering momentum for honoring Wilt Chamberlain on a United States postage stamp.
Now, for those other large numbers: On March 2, 1962, Wilt Chamberlain scored the astounding, never matched total of exactly one hundred points in the competitive cauldron of a National Basketball Association game. We are in the countdown toward the Fiftieth Anniversary of that feat. Plans for ceremonies and commemorations are underway.
It would be fitting for the U.S. Postal Service to be part of these celebrations with the issuance of a commemorative stamp honoring both "the Big Dipper" and his 100 point game. It meets your criteria, which favor significant, 50-year anniversaries of major events by a national figure of significance.
As Congressman for the Second District of Pennsylvania, I am pleased to represent neighborhoods in West Philadelphia where Wilt Chamberlain grew up, attended school and performed his gravity defying feats. In fact Wilt and I attended the same high school, Overbrook, albeit a generation apart. But that is just part of the reason I am advocating for this commemorative stamp. Chamberlain is a truly national figure. He transformed forever the way this most American of games is played in every state and territory. And it all came together nearly a half century ago: 100 + 50 = Wilt.
Very truly yours,
Member of Congress
And here's the Brady press release from today:
Aug. 1, 2011
Congressman Brady fights for a commemorative stamp for NBA star player Wilt Chamberlain
PHILADELPHIA --- Congressman Robert A. Brady (D., PA) has introduced a resolution that urges the U. S. Postal Service to issue a commemorative postage stamp honoring NBA Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain's record setting career.
Chamberlain's career includes 14 years in the NBA playing for Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers. In 1962, Chamberlain became the only NBA player to score 100 points in a single game.
In a letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahue, Congressman Brady said, "I believe that honoring Wilt Chamberlain with a commemorative stamp would be a more than appropriate way to celebrate his legendary career and athletic accomplishments, and I express my sincerest hope that the US Postal Service will recognize Wilt Chamberlain and his historic 100-point game in the 2012 stamp collection."