Twitter Huddle Tips-Off Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. ET #WiltStamp
High-resolution images of the stamps are available for media use only by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
PHILADELPHIA — The icon whose dominance literally changed the rules of basketball returns to center court Friday to receive a stamping ovation when he becomes the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) first player to be immortalized on a U.S. postage stamp.
NBA players Julius Erving and Wali Jones will be among those dedicating the Wilt Chamberlain Forever stamps Dec. 5 at halftime when the Philadelphia 76ers host the Oklahoma City Thunder (tip-off at 7 p.m.). A video of Chamberlain’s accomplishments will highlight the ceremony. All 50 million stamps, available nationwide Friday morning, can be pre-ordered now.
“When it came to determining the first NBA player to be honored on a stamp, Wilt Chamberlain was a slam dunk,” said U.S. Postal Service General Counsel and Executive Vice President Tom Marshall. At 7ft. 1 in., ‘the Big Dipper’s’ physical stature, athleticism and talent helped him to dominate the NBA and to put an indelible mark on the NBA record books. We decided to portray his dominance on the court with two towering Forever stamps depicting Wilt in the uniforms of two of the NBA teams for which he played. Each are twice the size of the original Forever Stamp — the Liberty Bell. And what better place to dedicate Wilt’s stamps than his hometown — the City of Brotherly Love.”
Starting at the 7 p.m. tipoff and throughout the game, current and past NBA players will participate in a “Twitter Huddle” –- an online chat using the hashtag #WiltStamp that will include a trivia quiz.
A special dedication ceremony will take place at the Mass Mutual Center during the University of Mass. vs. Florida Gulf Coast Game Dec. 7 in Springfield, MA. Another ceremony will take place at 2 p.m., Dec. 10 at Philadelphia’s Overbrook High School. Many of Chamberlain’s former teammates are planning to attend.
In addition to Erving and Jones joining Marshall in the dedication ceremony will be Chamberlain’s sisters Barbara Lewis and Selina Gross; 76ers Ambassador of Basketball World B. Free; Philadelphia Sports Hall of Famer and sports radio personality Sonny Hill; and, 76ers Director of Statistical Information Harvey Pollack, who holds the distinction as the only individual working for the NBA since its inaugural 1946-47 season. Pollack also kept score during Chamberlain’s 1962 record-breaking 100 point game. He also made the sign Chamberlain held in the famous post-game photo.
The halftime ceremony will feature a special tribute video and stamp unveiling using the team’s state-of-the-art court projection system. Throughout the night, the Sixers will celebrate the life and legacy of the legendary Chamberlain with videos during breaks in play. Tickets to the game are available to the public online at Sixers.com, by phone at 215-339-7676 and in person at the box office.
Wilt’s Stamps in a League of His Own
The stamps, just over 2 inches tall each, are a third to twice the size of a typical commemorative stamp height. Kadir Nelson, of San Diego, CA, created the two stamp image portraits of the NBA superstar. One is based on a photograph of Chamberlain in a Philadelphia Warriors uniform; the other is based on an image of Chamberlain in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform. The word “Wilt” is featured in either the top right or left corner of each stamp. Art director Antonio Alcalá of Alexandria, VA, designed the stamps.
As a center, Chamberlain dominated the NBA for more than a decade, setting a plethora of individual records. He led his teams to two NBA championships and in 1962, scored an NBA record 100 points in a single game.
The Big Dipper’s Legacy
Born Aug. 21, 1936, in Philadelphia, Chamberlain excelled in track and field, but basketball eventually became his sport of choice. By the time he was 10, Chamberlain was six feet tall. He was nearly unstoppable at Philadelphia’s Overbrook High School, scoring more than 2,200 total points, a Pennsylvania record. People began calling him “Wilt the Stilt,” and “The Big Dipper,” possibly because his height sometimes forced him to dip under doorways. He preferred the latter nickname.
He attended the University of Kansas where he averaged 29.9 points and 18.3 rebounds per game before turning pro in 1958. Chamberlain spent a season with the Harlem Globetrotters before joining the Philadelphia Warriors.
During his rookie season with the Philadelphia Warriors, he averaged 37.6 points and 27.0 rebounds per game to win both the league’s Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Awards. Chamberlain led the NBA in scoring his first seven seasons, and on March 2, 1962, during a game against the New York Knicks in Hershey, PA, scored an NBA record 100 points — a monumental feat that has not been matched since.
The Warriors moved to San Francisco in 1962, and in 1965 Chamberlain was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. In 1966–67, Chamberlain led the 76ers to an NBA record 68 regular-season wins and an NBA title.
In 1968, Philadelphia traded Chamberlain to the Los Angeles Lakers. His winning ways continued in L.A. In 1971–72, he led the Lakers to a stellar 69–13 regular-season record — the best regular-season mark in NBA history — and an NBA title. L.A. won the championship that year, defeating the Knicks in five games in the NBA finals. Chamberlain, who was nursing a broken bone in his hand, captured the series MVP Award. Like the
’66–’67 76ers, the ’71–’72 Lakers are still considered one of the best NBA teams of all time.
When the 13-time NBA All-Star retired in 1973, he held a record number of NBA records, including most total points (31,419), average points per game (30.1), total rebounds (23,924) and rebounds per game (22.9). He won the NBA MVP Award four times (1960, 1966–68), and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1979.
In 1996, as part of the NBA’s 50th anniversary season, Chamberlain was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA History.
The Wilt Chamberlain Limited Edition Forever stamps, available in sheets of 18 stamps, will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price. Customers may purchase the stamps at usps.com/stamps, the Postal Store, at 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) and at Post Offices nationwide or visit ebay.com/stamps to shop for a wide variety of postage stamps and collectibles.
Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, at The Postal Store website at usps.com/shop, or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others, and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:
Wilt Chamberlain Stamps Retail Manager
Philadelphia Metropolitan District
3190 South 70th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19153-3244
After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, customers are charged 5 cents each. All orders must be postmarked by Feb. 3, 2015.
Ordering First-Day Covers
The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog, online at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:
U.S. Postal Service
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014
There are 10 philatelic products available.
472424, Framed Art 13” x 14” $39.95
472423, Framed Art 7” x 9” $19.95
472406, Press Sheet w/Die cut, $70.56, (print quantity 1,000).
472408, Press Sheet w/o Die cut, $70.56, (print quantity 1,500).
472410, Digital Color Postmark Keepsake, set of 2, $12.95.
472416, First-Day Cover, set of 2, $1.86.
472421, Digital Color Postmark, set of 2, $3.28.
472430, Ceremony Program, $6.95.
472431, Stamp Deck Card, $0.95.
472432, Stamp Deck Card w/ Digital Color Postmark, $1.99.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
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Please Note: For broadcast quality video and audio, photo stills and other media resources, visit the USPS Newsroom at about.usps.com/news/welcome.htm.
For reporters interested in speaking with a regional Postal Service public relations professional, please go to about.usps.com/news/media-contacts/usps-local-media-contacts.pdf.