(I)n 1958, he turned down the National Basketball Association to play in the National Industrial Basketball League, featuring teams sponsored by Caterpillar Inc., Safeway Inc. and other corporate giants. If he’d signed with an NBA team, he’d have made $4,000 a year. Instead, he signed with the Phillips 66ers for $6,200.
Maybe some hoops historians know the answer to this. How common was it for teams in the Industrial League to pay more than the NBA for players? Does this mean Wilt, Russell, the Big O and others from that era weren’t necessarily playing against the highest level of competition? Anyways, that something to chew on for April 18th, 2012.