The NBA has a vast history of famous franchises, legendary players, coaches, owners and personnel who have contributed to the game in numerous ways. There is one player, however, that continues to loom large above the league after a stellar career, two championships and a laundry list of records that will never be broken.
Wilton Norman Chamberlain is best known for his unique abilities as an athlete — his contributions to basketball, as well as volleyball, having been enshrined in the Hall of Fame for the two sports. He also ran track at Overbrook High School and had a brief stint with the Harlem Globetrotters before carving out a phenomenal NBA career.
Chamberlain is the topic of a new three-part documentary series, Goliath on Showtime. The film aims to show the impact that he made upon the places and people around him within and outside the sporting world.
An advance screening of the documentary was shown on Thursday, July 13. It was presented by the Philadelphia 76ers, Wilt Chamberlain Memorial Fund, Religion of Sports and the City of Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney made a proclamation, marking July 13, 2023 as “Wilt Chamberlain Day” to coincide with the premiere and celebration of Chamberlain’s transcendent achievements.
The relatives of Chamberlain are a tight unit, as some of them have continued to make Philadelphia their home. A number of the family members were on hand, including his sister Selina Gross who spoke to the audience to shed further light on the life of her brother.
“I think it’s going to give people an insight of uncle Dippy, we call him uncle Dippy,” Olin Chamberlain, nephew of the multi-faceted icon said. “I think it will give an insight [to] not only his basketball career, but how he thought of things outside of basketball from an entrepreneurial perspective.”
There are three key things to understand about the overall production of the film:
- There is quite naturally a shortage of archival footage, so the producer incorporated something unique called puppet photography, which was done by Manual Cinema.
- Artificial Intelligence was incorporated to capture Wilt Chamberlain’s voice, as it was used to narrate aspects of the film.
- An interview with Aaron Levi, Chamberlain’s son.
“It all began with getting the life rights, and that all comes down to trust, so I gotta credit the Heeltap! [Entertainment] producers Charlie Lindsay and Will, who essentially formed the relationships and secured the rights,” said Jacob Mosler, Producer, GOLIATH and Line Producer, Religion of Sports.
He continued by explaining the process to get the film off the ground, sharing, “we got it over to Kevin Garnett and his company Content Cartel, and then they partnered with Village Roadshow, and Happy Madison, which is Adam Sandler’s company, and then they came to Religion of Sports, and our company, led by our co-founder Gotham Chopra, the executive producer. ... and we specialize in telling stories of modern myth makers.”
Chamberlain was a complex man with multiple layers. This film takes a look at Wilt Chamberlain the person. It outlines his time navigating sports and the Jim Crow era, his philanthropic efforts for women’s sports and unwavering support of the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This is a complete look at the man who became a mythical basketball legend and much more.
Goliath will be available Friday, July 14 on demand and on streaming platforms for Paramount+.
Showtime subscribers can watch part one on Sunday, July 16 at 10 p.m. ET with additional episodes premiering each Sunday.