Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 point game on March 2, 1962, and all his other NBA exploits are now the stuff of legend, so it’s hard to believe that the story about it amounted to nothing more than a quick recap about the Philadelphia Warriors, sent out over the wire for the sports page. But that was a different time for the NBA.
While today’s players make multi-million dollar salaries and play in front of upwards of 15,000 fans a night, Chamberlain’s record-setting performance took place in front of a whopping total of 4,124 fans at the arena in Hershey, Pennsylvania — the Hershey of candy bar fame.
Just as seeing LeBron James or Kobe Bryant play a game in a 4,000 seat arena in a small town is unthinkable today, so is the idea of anyone scoring 100 points in an NBA game. In fact, the closest anyone has come in the 50-plus years since was Bryant, scoring 81 for the Lakers in a 122-104 win over the Toronto Raptors in 2006.
Yes, the NBA was a different league then with different players and different rules, but to put Chamberlain’s scoring prowess in perspective, it’s worth noting he still holds the NBA single-season scoring record with 4,092 points in the 1961-62 season.
No one else has ever broken 4,000 since — and only one man, the great Michael Jordan, has managed to crack 3,000, scoring 3,041 in the 1986-87 season. – AJW
“It’s a record I’d hate to try and break myself,” says Philadelphia’s Wilt Chamberlain, eyeing his new 100-point National Basketball Association single game standard.
Chamberlain’s mark, eclipsing his own record of 78, came Friday night as the Warriors defeated the New York Knickerbockers, 169-147.
The total points scored, 316, also set an NBA record in a night just made for rewriting the NBA record columns. The previous high was 312 scored by Boston (173) and Minneapolis (139).
When Chamberlain scored the 78 earlier this year, in a triple overtime against Los Angeles, Coach Frank McGuire predicted “someday he will hit 100.”
He scores 100
The 7-foot-1 giant lived up to the prophecy as he scored 36 field goals, and 28 of 32 foul shots, both NBA records. He also scored 31 points in the final quarter, and scored 59 points in the second half, both records.
The 36 goals were made on 63 tries, for 57 percent.
“I wasn’t even thinking of hitting a 100, but after putting in nine straight free throws, I was thinking about a foul shooting record,” he said.
His greatest game
“It was my greatest game,” he added.
McGuire agreed. “It has to be the greatest game of his career.”
Chamberlain scored again and again on his fallaway shot as the excited crowd of 4,124 shrieked “Give it to Wilt, give it to Wilt.” His teammates complied.