It was 50 years ago in Hershey, Pa. when Philidelphia Warriors star center Wilton Norman ‘Wilt’ Chamberlain scored a record high 100 points in front of just 4,124 fans in a 169-147 win against the New York Knicks!
What took place on March 2, 1962 was a feat of mammoth proportion when you stop and think that this record has held for the past 50 years. The closest anyone has ever come to challenging the record was Laker Kobe Bryant who poured in 81 points at the Staples Center against the Toronto Raptors on January 22, 2006.
Chamberlain shot 36 of 63 from the field in that record setting game 50 years ago, and what’s even more amazing is that he knocked down 28 of 32 from the free throw line. The seven footer had the game of his life and will undoubtedly continue to hold the record probably indefinitely. Just think of all the great players that followed Chamberlain; Jabbar, Bird, Magic, Jordan, & Kobe among others, and not one had come anywhere NEAR 100 points in one game. In fact, on Friday on his anniversary of the infamous 100 point game, the Warriors (Golden State) lost to the Philadelphia 76ers. The TEAM scored 83 points…17 LESS than Wilt had 50 years ago…
However, as unbelievable as this accomplishment was, I don’t think that Chamberlain’s performance on that March evening was as profound and impressive as another record he still holds today…
In that same year, 1962, Wilt the Stilt averaged 50.4 points a game! Think about that for a moment. 50.4 points A GAME! That would mean that on the days when he shot say only 30 points, he would have to score 70 in his next game to average 50. While most players would drool at the chance of scoring 30 points, Chamberlain averaged 20 more. Fact is he scored 50 or more points in 45 games that year! And that was at a time before the league had instituted the 3-point shot. That’s a record that almost certainly will never be broken, tied, or have any other player even come close to mimicking.
The Big Dipper as he liked to be called, began his storied NBA professional career with the Philadelphia Warriors in 1959. (Although he did play professional ball from 1958-1959 with the Harlem Globetrotters prior to being drafted by Philadelphia). From his rookie year where he averaged 37 points and 27 rebounds a game to his last gig as a player-coach in the then newly formed ABA with the San Diego Conquistadors in 1973, Chamberlain had always played hard, played smart, and was a huge fan favorite. Arguably, he was one of the most dominant players to ever play in the NBA.
Unfortunately, Wilton Norman Chamberlain was taken from us way too early in October of 1999 from congestive heart failure, at the age of 63.