Tag: “Brothers of the Knight”

NBA Legend Wilt Chamberlin 1st Player to be Commemorated on U.S. Postage Stamp

NBA Great Wilt Chamberlin Stamp (Credit: United States Postal Service)

Wilt Chamberlain captured America’s imagination for two decades. With his 7-foot-1 frame, his commanding presence on the basketball court, his ability to rebound and score and his astounding athleticism, he became one of the most memorable players in NBA history.

Now, Chamberlain, the only man to score 100 points in an NBA game, will become the first player from the league to be honored with a postage stamp in his image. And fittingly enough, the two versions being issued by the Postal Service are nearly two inches long, or about a third longer than the usual stamp.

It would not be right any other way for the player known as Wilt the Stilt and alternately as the Big Dipper. Chamberlain died in 1999 at 63, but his name still resonates in the sport. And even at its atypical size, the new stamp could barely contain Chamberlain’s dimensions.  “We still had trouble fitting him into those proportions,” said Kadir Nelson, the artist who painted the images.

Nelson created two versions of the stamp. One shows Chamberlain in the act of shooting with his first NBA team, the Philadelphia Warriors, for whom he started playing in 1959. The other depicts him rebounding for the Los Angeles Lakers, his final club, for whom he played from 1968 to 1973.

Philadelphia’s Wilt Chamberlain shot over the San Diego Rockets’ Bud Acton in 1968 in Boston. (Associated Press)

The stamps will be dedicated Friday, in Philadelphia, his hometown, at halftime of the 76ers’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The ceremony comes at a frustrating time: The 76ers avoided tying the record for the worst start to a season in NBA history Wednesday night when they ended their 0-17 run with a victory at Minnesota.

But for a few minutes Friday night, Philadelphia fans old enough to remember can think back to the days when Chamberlain — first as a Warrior and later as a 76er — engaged in epic battles with the Boston Celtics’ Bill Russell. In 1967, Chamberlain led Philadelphia to an NBA title, the first of two in his career.

But just how did Chamberlain end up on a stamp?

The creation of a postage stamp is a process that takes years and begins with the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, a volunteer group appointed by the postmaster general. The committee evaluates roughly 40,000 proposals annually before recommending about 30 people or subjects for the postmaster general’s review.

A Chamberlain stamp was originally envisioned as part of a set of four basketball players who made history, said William J. Gicker, the creative director for the stamp program. A campaign engineered by Donald Hunt, a sportswriter for The Philadelphia Tribune, in support of Chamberlain led to thousands of letters and petition signatures being delivered to the committee. Continue reading “NBA Legend Wilt Chamberlin 1st Player to be Commemorated on U.S. Postage Stamp”

Debbie Allen Champions Arts Education for Youth, Kicks Off National Tour of “Brothers of the Knight”

DEBBIE_ALLEN_HEADSHOT_tOscar, Emmy and Tony Award-winning choreographer and director Debbie Allen premiered her new theatrical production Brothers of the Knight at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills last night, kicking off a five-city summer tour.  Turning out to support Allen and her passion for training today’s youth in the arts were actors Jenifer Lewis, Clifton Powell, “Grey’s Anatomy” star Ellen Pompeo, Darrin Hewitt Henson, New Kids on the Block singer Joey McIntyre and WNBA All-Star Lisa Leslie, among others. (Click here to see GBN’s Instagram photos from the event.)

Grammy-winning musician James Ingram wrote the music to this modern adaptation of the classic Brothers Grimm tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, where twelve brothers steal away to a magical ballroom and dance every night away unbeknownst to their strict preacher father.

Allen, who produced the show with husband and former NBA All-Star Norm Nixon, went on a five-city tour to find the best young talent possible, then trained and worked closely with them to bring the production to life.

“I opened this audition to kids who are not just in dance schools,” Allen said, but “to people who simply love to dance.”

1391112260644Allen is passionate about arts education for youth and mounts productions like this every year to shed light on its importance as more and more public schools drop arts, music and theatre programs.

“It’s a battle right now. Arts education is disappearing without a trace from the public schools. If you don’t have arts as part of the core of your curriculum, you are not going to be well educated,” Allen recently told WGBH in Boston.

Allen has been fighting to keep dance and the arts available for youth for quite some time.  In 2001, Allen opened the Debbie Allen Dance Academy (DADA), a non-profit organization which offers classes in various dance disciplines for youth and teens.

Brothers of the Knight runs until June 22 in Los Angeles, then moves to Boston from June 27-29, Philadelphia July 3-6, Washington DC July 10-13 and Charlotte July 17-20.  To order tickets, go to brothersoftheknight.com.  To sponsor or donate to this show, click here.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)