Monday, April 20, 2009

'It All Began With Wilt' By Cecil Mosenson

It All Began With Wilt
By Cecil Mosenson

Reviewed By David Cohen
Philadelphia Inquirer

The ghost of Wilt Chamberlain still towers over Philadelphia-area basketball.

Except for suburbanite Kobe Bryant, no local player has ever come close to matching Chamberlain's accomplishments. So many other phenoms - from Clarence Tillman and Billy Thompson to Eddie Griffin and Dallas Comegys to Milt and Dajuan Wagner - simply fizzled out in his shadow.

Beyond that, the magnitude of Chamberlain's feats is still staggering. His 100-point game for the Philadelphia Warriors on March 2, 1962, was like a moment when the heavens aligned - unprecedented, unreal, and unlikely ever to be matched.

Cecil Mosenson knows these things, and he knows them better than most. Having guided Chamberlain at Overbrook High, Mosenson has lived the last half-century known as "the guy who coached Wilt" - a tag that stuck with him even as he spent decades helping other youngsters as a coach, teacher, and principal. Chamberlain's ghost presumably is never far from his side.

Of course, that is why this book exists - so Mosenson can tell the stories about Chamberlain that everyone asks him to tell, as well as remind the world he's accomplished other things. The result is an autobiographical collection of anecdotes.

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