Wilt Chamberlain boasted that he slept with 20,000 women in his lifetime, or a woman a day starting at age 15. It’s not surprising, then, that 15 years after his death, Aaron Levi has come forward to claim that he is Chamberlain’s long-lost son.
Sports Illustrated has the exclusive profile on Aaron Levi, his long search for his biological father – he was adopted in the 1960s by a white Oregon couple – and the path that led him to Chamberlain. There is some amount of proof in the Aaron Levi’s appearance: he’s biracial, six foot five, and a picture of the now 50-year-old at 16 looks remarkably like Chamberlain.
“It’s been a burden on me to feel that I am her secret, 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.”
In 2004, Aaron uncovered paperwork that revealed details about his biological parents. Levi’s mother was single, white, 26, and English. His father was described as single, 28, a black professional basketball player, six foot 10, and a Kansas native with a Master’s Degree.
The information, provided by Levi’s birth mother, doesn’t completely match up with Chamberlain’s description, but the woman – now in her 70s and identified only as Elizabeth – only knew him for one night. And Chamberlain is the only person who fits that description at the time.
In 2010, Aaron Levi got the story right from his biological mother. She said she met Wilt Chamberlain at a San Francisco jazz club in 1964. He asked for her number and a few nights later, they went out. She drank too much and the sexual encounter that followed is a blur.
“He seemed very charming, but I really can’t remember,” she said.
The next morning, she woke up in her own bed. When she told Chamberlain she was pregnant, Elizabeth said he was clear on one point – the child would be put up for adoption. Elizabeth later married but had no more children. The story didn’t sit well with Aaron.
“It’s hard to accept that you are a product of a one-night stand. 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.”
Wilt Chamberlain’s conquests are about as legendary as his athletic record, but he defended the lifestyle in his 1991 memoir, saying, “[Y]ou have to understand what it was like in those days. That’s what an athlete did.”
He spent his life insisting he’d never have any “little Wilties.”
Until now, that was apparently the case. But Chamberlain’s surviving family denies Aaron Levi’s claim; his sister refuses to believe Levi is Wilt’s son and will not provide the DNA results that could prove it. That is something Aaron is used to.
“When you are adopted, rejection is woven into your DNA.”
[Photo Courtesy Sports Illustrated screengrab]