Almost every sports fan has heard that Wilt Chamberlain once scored 100 points in a game for the Philadelphia Warriors. It happened against the New York Knickerbockers in Hershey, Pa. in 1962.
But it takes a very special fan to know that Richard "Pee Wee" Kirkland -- a roundballer with Hampton Roads ties -- not only scored 100 points, but followed it up with a 135-point scoring barrage in 1974 that some argue might be the greatest feat in sports history.
A fan might know of Kirkland's feats if someone they knew served time in prison with him or played in the semi-pro league --which included prison teams -- where Kirkland scored those points after turning down an NBA contract for a life on the streets.
Kirkland is one of many legends, and one of several with Hampton Roads or Virginia ties, who will be shown before a national-television audience this weekend with the commercial-free airing of "Black Magic: Basketball's Secret. Their Legacy."
Pioneer and innovator John B. McLendon Jr., who coached at Hampton Institute among other stops, is also featured prominently.
Directed by award-winning filmmaker Dan Klores and co-produced by Hall of Famer Earl "the Pearl" Monroe, the first part of the two-part series airs at 9 p.m. Sunday. Part two airs 9 p.m. Monday.
"Black Magic" tells the story of the civil rights movement and the struggle for equality in sports through the lives of basketball players and coaches who attended historically black colleges. Many of the teams highlighted were members of the Hampton-based Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), the nation's oldest predominantly black athletic league.
"It tells the true story of the impact these men had on basketball," CIAA commissioner Leon Kerry said. "I think you can't move forward unless your history is known. I think this is monumental."
With narration by actor Samuel L. Jackson, jazz great Wynton Marsalis and New Orleans Hornets star point guard Chris Paul, the film conveys the feeling of a "Roots on Roundball." It shines light and gives credit to the pioneering players, feats and lore of stars who to this point have seemed like mythical figures at best.
Kirkland, 62, was a streetball legend from Brooklyn, who played on perhaps Norfolk State's best team ever -- teaming with future Milwaukee Bucks star Bobby Dandridge to win the CIAA tournament in 1967-68.
He was offered a contract by the Chicago Bulls, but Kirkland says in the film that he had more cash in his pockets than the Bulls were offering. He eventually was arrested, sentenced to prison for drug trafficking and tax evasion, and served 10 years.
Kirkland currently works with youth in Brooklyn and is wildly popular in the streetball community. When he visited the Hampton Coliseum in 2004 during a Street Baller Tour event, he was given a loud ovation when introduced.
McLendon, who coached several CIAA schools and the Denver Rockets of the American Basketball Association, studied under basketball inventor James Naismith and then influenced almost every coach who came afterward -- black and white.
Kerry noted -- and the film points out -- that McLendon is listed in the basketball hall of fame as a "contributor," not as a coach.
"I hope this will be the beginning of the hall of fame recognizing him as a coach," Kerry said, noting that McLendon was one of the founders of the popular CIAA tournament. "He was an inventor. He revoluntionized the sport."
Others featured include McLendon students Clarence "Big House" Gaines at Winston-Salem State, Ben Jobe at Southern University, and Gaines' top players, "Earl the Pearl" Monroe and Cleo Hill, who also is a CIAA hall of famer.
The film also details the stories of Virginia Union coach Dave Robbins and players Charles Oakley and Ben Wallace and their CIAA dynasty.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun