DOCUMENT: Celebrity, Sports

FBI Probed Wilt Chamberlain

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FBI Probed Wilt Chamberlain

Basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain was the subject of several FBI investigations into whether the NBA star placed bets on his own games and engaged in point shaving, according to bureau records obtained by The Smoking Gun via a Freedom of Information request.

During a three-year period in the late-60s (when Chamberlain played for the Philadelphia 76ers and then the Los Angeles Lakers), agents in eight separate FBI field offices tried, but failed, to corroborate repeated informant reports that the athlete was involved in illegal sports gambling. Chamberlain, who died in October 1999 at the age of 63, was never charged with any wrongdoing in connection with these various federal criminal investigations. In 1997,Chamberlain, a 13-time All-Star, was named one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players.

Along with the gambling probes, Chamberlain's file also includes memos recounting an amusing 1972 airport confrontation involving the seven-footer. Highlights of the Chamberlain FBI file include:

A "Very Heavy Gambler" (1 page)

"Fix" In Boston? (2 pages)

Wilt's Wounded Knee (2 pages)

Report From A New Orleans Informant (1 page)

Miami Source Fingers "The Stilt" (2 pages)

Playoff Bet Vs. Celtics? (2 pages)

J. Edgar Hoover Has His Say (1 page)

Chamberlain's Airline Imbroglio (3 pages)