I'm so glad Al made it into the Hall of Fame. He'll always be one of my favorite Warriors. He's been with the Warriors for 60 years, and many people forget (or were never aware) of what he was as a player, but he was a tough-as-nails defender that anyone would want on their team. One of the best nicknames ever -- "The Destroyer."
Nice article in the Undefeated:
Another article from 2016 in the Undefeated:
Some tidbits from and about Al in Tall Tales, by Terry Pluto.
Al Attles: "I came into the league in 1960 and the word was that there could be up to four blacks on a team. When I was a rookie, the Warriors already had four blacks -- Guy Rodgers, Andy Johnson, Woody Sauldsberry and Wilt. Then it became apparent that I was going to make the team, meaning that there would be five blacks. We -- the black players -- started hearing tha one of us would be traded. The veterans guessed that it would Sauldsberry who'd go, and sure enough, he was traded. The theory was that black players cut each other. As a black player, you weren't competing for one of the 12 roster spots, you were after one of the four that belonged to black players. There were too many examples of these kinds of player moves for it to have been a coincidence."
Al Attles: "I would talk to Wilt about all the players pounding on him. Sometimes, he said he didn't notice it--he was so strong. But I also believe that there were two sets of rules. By that, I mean because Wilt was so strong, the officials let the man guarding him get away with more--almost trying to equalize the game. I also believe that Wilt just took it because he didn't want to get thrown out, and because it had always been like that with him. But I'd watch it and I'd get mad. It takes me a while to get my temper going, but when it does--look out. I'd see what the other players were doing to Wilt and what the officials were allowing, and I'd get more upset than if it were happening to me. So I jumped in there. It wasn't that Wilt couldn't defend himself. If he ever got really hot, he'd kill people, so he let things pass. But I didn't have to worry about that. I was strong for my size, but I was not about to do anything like the kind of damage Wilt would."
Tom Meschery: " Guy [Rodgers] had a million ways of getting the ball to Wilt. There was a part of Guy that was very insecure. He considered himself an elite player, but he had some weaknesses that he didn't like to admit. Guy was not much of an outside shooter and not a good defender. He had Al Attles next to him all those years, saving his butt in the backcourt on defense."
Wilt Chamberlain: "The debate about our era versus today's players can go on and on, but the one thing that can't be disputed is that we built the game. Yet these players today don't know it. They don't know Johnny Kerr and Wayne Embry were great centers, or that Guy Rodgers and Al Attles were super guards.
Al Attles (about Wilt's 100-point game): After the game, Wilt was in the dressing room and he wasn't celebrating like the rest of us.
I said, "Wilt, what's the matter."
He said, "I never thought I'd take 60 shots in a game."
I said, "But you made 36, that's better than 50 percent."
He said, "But Al--63 shots, Al." Then he just shook his head.
Al Attles: "Wilt gave me the ball that he scored the 100th point with, even though some kid claimed to have run off with it."
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