The filmmakers kind of had it coming when they named their project after the most well-known loser (and Chamberlain’s least favorite nickname!), didn’t they?
Wilt Chamberlain’s story is inherently fascinating. An athletic wonder who rose to fame in the South during the Jim Crow era, Chamberlain had to pave the way for other Black athletes who followed in his footsteps. It wasn’t enough that he was good, or that he had the height to end all heights; Chamberlain had to be remarkable to be recognized by his white peers and the national association. And that’s exactly what he became, “an exceptional athlete who happened to be seven feet tall” as one expert puts it. So it’s rather disappointing that the definitive documentary about him doesn’t match his greatness. It gathers family members, sports experts, and fellow basketball players to share their thoughts on Chamberlain and accompanies their anecdotes with archival footage and photos to make a decently engaging but ultimately formulaic documentary. This will be fun and moving for NBA and basketball fans, but it lacks the magnitude to go beyond its expected audience.
What did you think? Who should watch it?