The Basketball Performance To End Them All

By Mike Floorwalker on Friday, August 30, 2013
bball
“[Wilt] was the NBA. He was the guy on the top.” —Johnny “Red” Kerr

In A Nutshell

On March 2, 1962, Wilt Chamberlain became the only NBA player to ever score 100 points in a game. As amazing as that is, the associated statistics make it even more impressive, and highly likely that no other player will ever come close.

The Whole Bushel

Wilt “The Big Dipper” Chamberlain is always in the discussion of greatest basketball players of all time, and with good reason. In fact, he achieved at least one feat that only Kobe Bryant was ever able to get even somewhat close to—he’s the only player to score 100 points in a single NBA game. Chamberlain broke his own record of 78 to accomplish this; Bryant is second in NBA history with an 81-point performance in 2006.

The game took place on March 2, 1962, and Chamberlain’s Philadelphia Warriors were playing the New York Knicks down the road in New Jersey, in a bid to attract a bigger fan base. Wilt had scored 41 by halftime, and when he had a monster third period as well, his teammates could do nothing but oblige when fans began chanting for them to keep feeding Wilt the ball. The 7-foot-1 center scored his final basket with 46 seconds left in the game, giving him a nice round 100. And if it seems amazing that it took as great a player as Bryant over 40 years to get within shouting distance of Walt’s historic score, consider the following.

Wilt only picked up steam in the second half, scoring 28 in the third and 31 points (higher than LeBron’s career average points per entire game) in the fourth quarter. He was a mind-boggling 28 of 32 from the free-throw line, incredible for any player, let alone one whose career free throw percentage was right around 51 percent. That season, Wilt managed to average 48.5 minutes of playing time per 48-minute game, on account of playing during every overtime period that season. He set an NBA record in averaging over 50 points per game, and oh yeah—his record 100-point performance? The NBA didn’t have a three-point shot then.

Show Me The Proof

Wilt Scores 100!
Fifty years later: Wilt’s 100-point game