Macheri had 10 productive seasons in the NBA before embarking on a second, long career as a high school English teacher. A published poet, he is the only former NBA All-Star to be inducted into Nevada Writers’ Hall of Fame.
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However, for all their miscellaneous accomplishments, Atlis and Macherie understand that their legacy is connected, in a sense, to that night in Hershey, where Chamberlain fired 36 of 63 from the field, made 28 of 32 free throws, and then came back again. To New York – lived in Harlem at the time – with players from the Woebegone Knicks.
“He was trying to sleep on his back, and he could hear them talking about dropping him on the side of the highway,” Mishri said with a laugh.
The game was, in many ways, unremarkable. Organized in the Hershey Sports Arena, it is an impersonal concrete shell where the Warriors played a few games each season. In their match against the Knicks, the building was only half full. The wooden playground was originally designed for roller skating. The match was not televised, and only two reporters made the two-hour flight from Philadelphia.
So far, the radio broadcast is not available for public consumption without prior approval from the league. (The Warriors provided Attles and Meschery with a copy of the fourth quarter so they could listen to it.)
But the game produced unexpected charm, and continued to be a legend – befitting a character like Chamberlain, who did little to dispel the stories, real or imagined, about his life. Pomerantz wrote that even to his teammates, Chamberlain could seem detached and “out of their reach,” even though Atlis was closer to him than most others.
“Just a wonderful person once you get to know him,” Atlis said.
For Mishri, Chamberlain was more of a presence looming large — at least at first. In 1957, as a high school student in San Francisco, Mishri appeared on NBC’s “The Steve Allen Show,” along with the rest of the country’s high schools and American College. When they met on stage, Mishri looked over his shoulder.
“Wilt is standing right over me,” Mishri recalls.
Dominating the college defenders in Kansas, Chamberlain left school early to play for the Harlem Globetrotters, then joined the Warriors in 1959. Atlis, who thought he was bound for a teaching job at a high school in Newark, had made The Warriors was a fifth-round pick in 1960, where he was known as a defensive-minded guard. (His nickname is Devastating.) A fickle striker, he joined the Warriors the following season.
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