You can have a reputable body shop paint over the chrome but then you are looking at an added cost to paint the wheel.
When you start getting into sizes in the rear that are different than P275/40/17 you will have to play around big time with offsets/backspacing.
Here's the deal when GM first designed these cars the bias to metric equivalent was P195/75/R14.
1) P195/75/R14 is 12.8" in radius, 25.5" in Overall Diameter (OD), 80.2" circumference (Circ) and 790 revolutions per mile (revs).
2) I run P235/60/R15 all the way around on my car which is 13.1" radius, 26.1" OD, 82.0" circ, and 773 Revs per mile. I have front dics and rear drums.
3) P225/60/R15 is 12.8" radius, 25.6" OD, 80.5" Circ, and 787 Revs per mile.....
4) The 1982-1987 Z28's had P215/65/R15's on them which measured 13.0" radius, 26.0" OD, 81.7" Circ, and 776 Revs per mile
5) When stepping up to the 16" size for the 1985-1990 IROC-Z a P245/50/R16 was used. That size measures 12.8" Radius, 25.6" OD, 80.6" Circ and 786 Revs per mile
6) The 1991 & 1992 Pontiac SLP Firebird Firehawk used P275/40/R17 which was nearly identical in every way to the P245/50/R16 as the 17" size measured 12.8" radius (same), 25.7" OD (only 1/10" difference), 80.6 Circ (same) and 786 Revs per mile. (same)
A Camaro or Firebird never came with anything more than a 17" size if I recall. And that size would have been P275/40/R17 and I think that may have been the largets size available in 2002 as well.....I have seen 18" wheels used on a first gen but it becomes a major pain in the @$$ to get the fitment down.
Here's a helpful chart for you http://www.miata.net/garage/tirecalc.html
My 2 cents: I would not paint over the chrome and I would find another wheel to go with that is available in 17". I like the old school 15" rally's with a turbo charged big block under the hood. Nothing like a "granny" looking mobile inside & out packing some serious wallop under the hood/drive train. Plus with a 17" size you can get a 40 or 45 series profile. To go w/ 18's on a first gen you may have to compromise the aspect ratio (sidewall profile) and width. It's been 10 and a half years since I mounted, balanced or installed tires on my car or a customers car. But I hope this info helps you out.