Aaron Levi is a 50-year old printmaker and digital artist in San Francisco, and he thinks that Wilt Chamberlain is his biological father.
Chamberlain passed away due to a heart attack in 1999 at the age of 63 — he famously boasted about supposedly bedding some 20,000 women during his life, and said he never fathered any children (or “little Wilties” as he called them.)
Levi was born during the 1964-65 NBA season, as Wilt starred for the San Francisco Warriors before a mid-season trade sent him to the Philadelphia Sixers.
In 2003, nearing 40, Levi finally began to search for answers to his questions. When he found and spoke with his biological mother, he heard in her accent that she was British. But that wasn’t the most surprising revelation. Levi was told that his biological father was the most transformative player in pro basketball history and one of the most transcendent athletes of the 20th century. […] Out of the blue I received an email from Levi in February 2014. The subject line read, “In regards to Wilt Chamberlain.”
In his email to me, Levi said that after he finally identified a British woman as his biological mother, she told him that he was conceived in a one-night stand with Chamberlain in San Francisco in 1964. She said she had kept his birth a secret from her own family and had struggled ever since with guilt over his birth and adoption. Levi added that in 2010 he reached out to two of Chamberlain’s sisters, by letter and by phone, but they spurned him. […] Levi said he did not want a dime from the Chamberlain family and did not want to sully Wilt’s name. Rather, he wanted to meet members of the black side of his family and learn more about his biological father; to correct the “false history” that Chamberlain had no children; and to find out if Chamberlain had any other children, who would be his half-siblings. Levi said the search occupied nearly his every waking moment. He was ready to go public with his story.
“It’s been a burden on me to feel that I am her secret,” Aaron said of his biological mother, “and I am Wilt’s secret, and I am the Chamberlain family’s secret. That’s been hard for me. . . . I already know what’s going to happen if I don’t do anything. I’m going to have an unfinished journey.” […] “It’s hard to accept that you are a product of a one-night stand,” Levi told me. “I wanted her to tell me something good about him, but that wasn’t going to happen. I realized that we had different feelings about him. She sees him as a womanizer. . . . To me, he’s my father.”