“People should remember the great ones. They don’t come any bigger or better than Wilt Chamberlain.”
The words above were the closing sentences of Donald Hunt’s 2008 column in the Philadelphia Tribune calling for a postage stamp to honor Wilt Chamberlain.
Hunt’s story received a lot of attention and started a groundswell movement that eventually resulted in Chamberlain becoming the first NBA player enshrined with a stamp. The official ceremony was held at halftime of the 76ers-Oklahoma City Thunder game on Dec. 5, 2014.
“It was such an accomplishment,” Hunt told Bracy Sports Media. “When you start something like that, you’re excited about it but you never know where it’s going to go.”
A humble man, Hunt is quick to credit many people inside the Philadelphia basketball and journalism community for the stamp coming to fruition, including Jimmy Sadler, Claude Gross, Herm Rogul, Vince Miller, Don Hackney, Bobby Lewis and Roger Bogle.
Ultimately, though, it was Hunt’s idea and continued push that brought the stamp to life.
“It was a wonderful experience, something I’ll never forget,” he said. “It was one of the highlights of my career.”
And it’s been quite a career for Hunt. He has covered Philadelphia sports at the Tribune since 1983, mostly as a full-timer and for a short stint as a part-timer while working in public relations. He has been honored by the National Association of Black Journalists as its Journalist of the Year in 2011 and was inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame in 2017. He became the first African-American sportswriter selected.
Bigger than the honors is the person. Hunt is one of the most genuinely kind people you will meet. Quick with a smile and kind word, it’s always a pleasure to bump into Hunt at one of the many Philadelphia sporting events he might be covering.
Clearly, his love for his job is evident.
“Sportswriting, I just really enjoy it,” Hunt said. “Some people can get really tied up into it and make it somewhat personal, and it can be a strain. For me, it’s never been that way. I’ve always just enjoyed what I do.”
Hunt is all over town covering sports, from the local high school athlete to the biggest star in Philadelphia sports. He’s happy either way.
“I get excited whether it’s high school, NBA or Major League Baseball,” he said. “With the Tribune, there’s always another story to write. The big thing is just staying organized. I do a schedule every week and then I get to about Wednesday and then I have to change things.”
Hunt has been particularly prominent in Philadelphia basketball circles and has written a pair of books on Philly hoops, one on the Big 5 and the other on former Temple coach John Chaney.
“There’s nothing like the city series,” he said. “I know things have changed a lot over the years. It’s always good to go to those games and watch the guys compete against each other.”
And, for his contribution to the city, Hunt joined Philadelphia greats in 2017 with his enshrinement into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame.
“It meant a lot from so many standpoints,” he said. “First of all, it was quite an honor. You hear people say that a lot, but it really was for me. I got into this business never thinking I was going to win awards. It meant a lot to my family. It was just a wonderful experience. It was great for a lot of people who helped me like Herm Rogul and other people I was inspired by. It was a great honor.”
And a deserved one for someone who has made a stamp on Philadelphia sports.