Did you know the Knicks almost landed legendary center Wilt Chamberlain?
The story goes like this: MSG president Mike Burke and GM Eddie Donovan were out seeking a new center to add to their team before the 1975-76 season began. While they had other players like Kareem Abdul-Jabaar and George McGinnis in mind, they couldn't make it happen. So outside-the-box thinking brought Chamberlain to the table, as the Knicks were looking to bring him out of retirement.
In turn, a meeting with Chamberlain's lawyer, Sy Goldberg, led to Burke and Donovan traveling across the country to meet with the seven-time scoring champ and 13-time All-Star. But there's a catch.
Chamberlain was in Hawaii.
"I'm annoyed," Burke told the New York Times after Chamberlain failed to show up to the meeting. "We have come here on a fool's errand. We met with Sy Goldberg for several hours Friday. During the meeting we were told many times Wilt was expected at any hour. He never showed. We arranged for another meeting for today and were told by Goldberg that Wilt was still in Hawaii and would be returning late today."
Burke told Goldberg that he was leaving, and if Chamberlain had any interest in playing for New York, that they would meet in the Big Apple at a later date.
But while it all seemed like a total waste of time, the trip to the West Coast actually worked out in the end. Burke and Donovan ended up having coffee with the Seattle Supersonics owner and then-GM and coach Bill Russell, another NBA legend. It was in that meeting that Spencer Haywood, a 25-year-old who had been voted to four straight All-Star Games, was up for sale. The Knicks made it happen and found their new center.
Haywood didn't live up to those All-Star standards with the Knicks, but he was still a solid contributor. Imagine what could've been if Chamberlain was in the blue and orange, coming out of retirement to grace New York City with his smooth post presence and rebounding wonderment.
One can only dream.