LOS ANGELES — On a clear day you can see forever.
Or at least Mariah Carey‘s backyard.
The months-long project “Season of Giants“ — a look at the historic 1961-62 NBA season — has taken me many places on the trail of Wilt Chamberlain. I have been to his native Philadelphia to visit many old haunts and to talk to many old friends. I have been to Hershey Arena, the site of Wilt’s historic 100-point game on March 2, 1962. I have been to the Wells Fargo Center on the night that two of Wilt’s former teams — the Warriors and 76ers — played on the 50th anniversary of that epic achievement.
But now I’m literally standing in what used to be Wilt’s backyard in the ritzy Bel-Air section on the West side of L.A., gazing slack-jawed at a view of downtown and the Staples Center far, far away.
This is Ursa Major, the out-of-this-world place that Wilt and architect David Tenneson Rich designed together in the early 1970s. It’s the home of the giant sunken living from with the huge fireplace, the wrap-around pool that had an entrance from inside the house, straight through the floor of the dining room and, of course, the upstairs master bedroom with the retractable roof, site of many of Wilt’s alleged 20,000 sexual conquests.
If the walls could talk.
Well, I listened close, but didn’t hear any juicy gossip, but an afternoon’s tour of the house and surrounding grounds gave another level of insight into the man who revolutionized the NBA and was the biggest sports celebrity of his time.
Join me here at NBA.com for all of the upcoming chapters in “Season of Giants” and for an up-close look at one of the most famous homes in the sports, coming soon.