NBA legend Bill Russell once revealed how he tried to topple Wilt Chamberlain as the highest-paid NBA player. The Celtics icon used his MVP card to get his way.
Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain were some of the first few superstars in a sport coined by James Naismith known as basketball. Both played the center position and won several accolades during their respective careers.
The two arch-rivals were known to share a great relationship outside the hardwood. Though they both played the center position, Russell and Chamberlain had different game styles. While Wilt The Stilt was a scoring machine, Russell’s basketball IQ level was unmatched.
Chamberlain nearly averaged 40 PPG, not to forget his 100-points performance that seems to stay unbroken. On the other hand, Russell had the most no of championships under his belt (11).
During one interview, Russell spoke about how he tried to dethrone Chamberlain as the highest-paid NBA player. The 5x MVP would do all it took to be above Wilt the Stilt, though it being a minimal difference.
Bill Russell talks about getting paid more than Wilt Chamberlain.
The two Hall of Famers played at a time when the league didn’t pay much. The situation was such that professional athletes would have to do odd jobs to survive. Both Russell and Chamberlain were part of that era.
During one interview, Russell narrated a hilarious story involving the subject of the highest-paid NBA player.
“When I was playing for the Celtics, and I was up in the country, in the Catskills and Red Auerbach and I were talking and one of the waiters came up and said, ‘You hear what happened to Wilt?. I said a car wreck or something? he used to drive fast and he said no.”
The waiter would then inform Russell about Chamberlain’s new contract.
“He just signed a contract for $100,000 a year. That’s the first time any NBA player had reached that plateau. In fact, I think Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, and I think Willy Mays were the only pro athletes making $100,00 a year. So I says to Red (Auerback) I know what I want. I say a $100,001 because I had just won the MVP this league.”
Russell would have his way, proving not only was he a great ballplayer but a smart businessman as well. Both Russell and Chamberlain shared great camaraderie off the court, with Russell even stating that Wilt would come to his house and sleep on his bed.