Bill Chamberlain News Archive

Lee Shaffer, a western Pennsylvania great you probably don't know

Lee Shaffer said it was easier going to the basket against Wilt Chamberlain than Bill Russell. Shaffer was talking about that NBA All-Star Game when he scored 12 points, that playoff series when he averaged close to 30 against Oscar Robertson, what it was like to be the No. 5 pick in the NBA draft and that senior season at UNC when he was ACC Player of the Year and an All-American.

Chansky’s Notebook: Charter Member

Perfect. John Thompson is the first Dean Smith Award winner. Dean Smith’s relationship went back to John Thompson’s days as a high school coach at St. Anthony’s in the nation’s capital. Thompson sent his adopted son, Donald Washington, to play for Smith and the Tar Heels as the third African- American in the UNC program after Charlie Scott and Bill Chamberlain.

Bill Chamberlain, UNC's second black recruit, says Dean Smith championed equality

Bill Chamberlain was the second black player that Dean Smith recruited to UNC, and he played for the Tar Heels at a time when he needed the support of a strong coach and a stronger man. Chamberlain could have played college basketball anywhere, but he wanted to play for Smith. "Coach Smith was clearly a dedicated Christian gentleman who my parents loved, which was huge to me," he recalled.

Five Final Fours that Changed March into March Madness

1957: The Tar Heels finished 32-0 to give the event its second straight unbeaten national champ. San Francisco, with Bill Russell, had gone 29-0 in 1956. But the manner in which Carolina won — back-to-back triple-overtime wins over Michigan State with Jumpin’ Johnny Green and Kansas with Wilt Chamberlain — was such compelling sports theater that the Final Four was able to grab an unusually high degree of newspaper coverage.

The last time UNC won the NIT

In 1971, Richard Nixon was president, the United States was involved in a massively unpopular war in Vietnam and on March 27, North Carolina beat Georgia Tech 84-66 to win the National Invitational Tournament. Dean Smith coached a Tar Heel team led by current NBA coach George Karl, Bill Chamberlain and Steve Previs to a regular season ACC championship and an 11-3 conference record.

Catching up: Bill Chamberlain

North Carolina's Bill Chamberlain looked Massachusetts' Julius Erving in the eye and never flinched. On that day in 1971, in Madison Square Garden, Chamberlain outshone the player who would become known as "Dr. J," scoring 24 points and holding Erving to 13 on the way to becoming MVP of the NIT. As for his top athletic highlight, Chamberlain says, "that I was lucky enough to go to Carolina."

Can MJ make the Cats claw?

Michael Jordan is undoubtedly the best player to ever lace ‘em up. Or if you want to count a Bill Russell or a Wilt Chamberlain for that distinct honor, then you have to at least say MJ was the very best player under 6-foot-9 inches. That being said of his Airness as a player hasn’t necessarily translated to championships in the front office.

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