Sports

Wilt Chamberlain's amazing 100-point game was 50 years ago

DALLAS -- No one will deny that Wilt Chamberlain is arguably the most fascinating and most dominating physical specimen ever to play in the NBA.

And 50 years ago today, Chamberlain proved just how dominant he was by becoming the only player in NBA history to score 100 points in a game when he accomplished that feat against the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962. What Chamberlain achieved that unforgettable day in Hershey, Pa., was so amazing that many doubt if another player will ever reach the century mark again.

"I don't think there will ever be another big man that will do it," former center Shaquille O'Neal said. "Maybe a couple of guards can get it.

"Kobe (Bryant) had 81 [points against Toronto six years ago] -- he got close. [Kevin] Durant, LeBron [James] or [Dwyane] Wade, if they get hot they'll do it."

While playing for the Philadelphia Warriors, Chamberlain reached 100 points by making 36 of 63 shots from the field and 28 of 32 from the free-throw line. Just having the stamina to attempt that many shots is what astonishes players and coaches today.

"The most points I scored in a game was 45 -- and I was tired," former Dallas Mavericks forward Sam Perkins said. "He's one of a kind, a freak of nature, and that was a great accomplishment."

Perkins isn't so sure anyone will ever score 100 points in an NBA game again.

"But if anybody can do it right now it would be Kevin Durant, because he can score at will," Perkins said. "And if [Russell] Westbrook lets him score and gives him the ball all the time, he probably would score 100 points.

"But that's a lot of shooting."

To wrap his brain around what Chamberlain achieved, Los Angeles Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin referred to Oklahoma City's Feb. 19 game against Denver when Durant tallied 51 points and Westbrook scored 40.

"I was thinking that as many points as they scored and as well as they played, they still didn't score more than Wilt Chamberlain," Griffin said. "I don't think anybody is going to be able to get within 10 points."

Durant, who averages more than 27 points per game, can appreciate Chamberlain's 100 points after what he went through with his 51 points against Denver.

Durant said, "After the game, I was thinking 'Wow! How did Kobe get 81 points in one game and how did Wilt get 100 points by himself?'"

TNT analyst Cheryl Miller can somewhat relate to Chamberlain. She poured in an amazing 105 points while playing for Riverside Poly (Calif.) High School. Miller's team drilled Notre Visa 179-15 on Jan. 26, 1982.

What stood out most for Miller is that she didn't play the last two minutes in that game.

"It was one of those games where everything went in -- the stars, the moon -- everything lined up right," Miller said. "I knew that it was a big thing for Wilt to do it professionally.

"That's huge, that's the big boys. But to be able to accomplish it, I didn't really grasp that until after I achieved it, and looking back, yeah, it's a pretty cool thing."

Perkins believes what Chamberlain accomplished was even more unbelievable because he played in the late 1950s and through the 1960s, when racism still riddled America.

"He played in an era where black people and white people didn't get along as well, so there was some racial tension in games," Perkins said. "So he had to play with all that, and then play the game against predominantly white guys.

"It's a credit to him that nothing happened to him and that he prevailed."

Former NBA coach Jack Ramsay describes Chamberlain's feat as "a momentous occasion," and he doesn't think the NBA will ever have another player score 100 points in a game.

"I think it's relatively impossible," Ramsay said. "It was one of those rare things where everything came together and a guy had no one who could defend him in that game.

"The Knicks did not have a big center at that time, so it was just getting the ball to him. He was always able to get good position."

Chamberlain played from 1959-73, for the Philadelphia and San Francisco Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers. He was a 13-time All-Star, an 11-time rebounding champion, a seven-time scoring champion, a four-time Most Valuable Player and won NBA titles in 1967 with the 76ers and in '72 with the Lakers.

In the 1961-62 season, Chamberlain, who was 7-foot-1 and 275 pounds, was virtually unstoppable, averaging an incredible 50.4 points per game.

Perkins said if Chamberlain were able to produce the numbers today that he manufactured in the 1960s, he would own Madison Avenue and would be on the cover of practically every newspaper and magazine, not to mention being the top story on TV stations across the country.

In other words, it would have been Wiltsanity.

"They're going all insane with Jeremy Lin, but if we had anybody like Wilt now, it wouldn't even be right," Perkins said. "If he was able to do that, as big as he was, he would own New York."

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle describes himself as "a Wilt Chamberlain historian," adding that it would be "kind of scary" the amount of money Chamberlain could command if he were playing today.

"It's staggering to even think about those possibilities," Carlisle said. "He's the only guy in history who's ever come close to doing those things, which tells you the magnitude of his physical presence and his overall greatness.

"I was a Wilt fan, I followed his career a lot and I always had a fascination with his persona and how he played."

Chamberlain, who died of a reported heart attack at age 63 on Oct. 12, 1999, was such an imposing figure that he averaged playing 48.5 minutes in 48-minute games during the '61-'62 season.

Except for eight minutes when he was ejected after two technical fouls against the Lakers, Chamberlain played every minute of every regular season and playoff game -- including 10 overtime periods.

"He was in great shape," O'Neal said. "A lot of people don't know he used to play a lot of beach volleyball down there in Manhattan Beach.

"He's the most dominant big man ever, and when I was young my father wanted me to be like him. Just to have my name mentioned next to him, that's good enough for my career, because there will never be another him. No way."

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Line of the century

March 2, 1962, Hershey, Pa.

Score by quarters

New York

26

42

38

41 -- 147

Philadelphia

42

37

46

44 -- 169

New York

FG

FT

F

Pts.

Naulls

9

13-15

5

31

Green

3

0-0

5

6

Imhoff

3

1-1

6

7

Guerin

13

13-17

5

39

Butler

4

0-0

1

8

Budd

6

1-1

1

13

Butcher

3

4-6

5

10

Buckner

16

1-1

4

33

Totals

57

33-41

32

147

Philadelphia

FG

FT

F

Pts.

Arizin

7

2-2

0

16

Meschery

7

2-2

4

16

Chamberlain

36

28-32

2

100

Rodgers

1

9-12

5

11

Attles

8

1-1

4

17

Lareso

4

1-1

5

9

Conlin

0

0-0

1

0

Ruklick

0

0-2

2

0

Luckenbill

0

0-0

2

0

Totals

63

43-52

25

169

Attendance -- 4,124

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