Last week I published an excerpt from Roland Lazenby’s upcoming biography of Lakers great Jerry West. The snippet detailed sexual activity by the Lakers during the Showtime era - which was headlined by Magic Johnson. Lazenby has a fascinating follow on his blog today that expounds on the sexual proclivities of the Lakers and the NBA at large.
Though you should definitely read the entire blog post, I’ll highlight something I found interesting. In Lazenby’s piece, former longtime LOS ANGELES HERALD-EXAMINER Lakers beat writer Doug Krikorian completely debunks Wilt Chamberlain’s claim that he slept with 20,000 women.
Doug, who is a friend of mine, actually doesn’t just debunk the myth, he obliterates it with “firsthand” knowledge. And Doug is as credible as they get.
Looking back on the times in his 1990 book, “A View From Above,” Chamberlain claimed to have slept with better than 20,000 women during his career. His claim was designed to sell copies of his book, but Chamberlain very quickly came to regret it.
Part of the reason for Chamberlain’s regret was that he felt his claim led people to view him differently. Suddenly his off-court activities overshadowed his real accomplishments. However, there was another reason as well. Some of his associates doubted his claims.
Doug Krikorian: “Complete hyperbole. Trust me. I spent many a Saturday night where Wilt would call me and say, ‘Let’s go out and have dinner together.’ He was the worst guy I’ve ever seen trying to hustle women. I’m serious. That thing should be debunked. Trust me. I saw firsthand. Yes, he might have had his share of women, but as a slick hustler, please. No. I saw too many nights where he was alone. I was with him.
“There were nights he’d call me up. I was like his valet at times. I’m sure he had hookers come up to his room and stuff like that. He scored on some women, but as a regular Lothario? I know bartenders that scored way more than Wilt. Please. He was playing basketball. How could a real guy be a Lothario? What did he say, 20,000? It’s ridiculous. It’s farcical. Why would he even claim that?”
I’ve talked to Doug about the subject before, but never heard him go on the record to that extent about Chamberlain. While very few ever seriously believed Chamberlain’s claim, especially after actually doing the math, Doug goes further to say that Chamberlain was actually quite clumsy with women.
He was the worst guy I’ve ever seen trying to hustle women. I’m serious. I know bartenders that scored way more than Wilt. Please.
While those remarks might be hard to believe, Doug was the closest print reporter to the Lakers during Wilt’s heyday in Los Angeles. And remember, Chamberlain played in a completely different era than Magic and Showtime.
NBA broadcaster and former player Fred Carter sets the scene:
“The Forum was kicking in the seventies too. It was just a different time. The hype wasn’t there. But the feeling, the enthusiasm was still there.”
Chamberlain pre-dated Jerry Buss taking over the team in 1979. It was Buss who created the Laker Girls and proactively sought out the attendance of celebrities. Buss changed everything, which may explain the sexual disconnect between Chamberlain and Magic.