The Basketball Performance To End Them All

“[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

  • Phil_42

    great list except for the fact that it was against the New York Knicks not Indiana

    • Ste Chez

      not a list

      • Phil_42

        sorry, you know what I meant.

  • Max

    It is important to remember that in the fourth quarter Wilt’s teammates would foul each time the Knicks had the ball. This strategy nearly stopped the game clock from running, providing Wilt with an abundance of offensive chances that a ‘normally’ played basketball game would never allow. I am not saying that scoring 100 points with no 3-point line isn’t impressive, and Wilt clearly was having an unusually hot shooting day (as evident from his free throw shooting), but the strategy taken up by Wilt’s teammates does make me question how the general public would react if the Lakers used the same strategy when Kobe scored 81.

  • inconspicuous detective

    this record won’t be broken. it’s one of those cases where the game has changed too much for it to be possible, and further more, if a play has to score nearly 100 points for your team, you don’t have a very good team.

  • TodosReamus

    the average talent level of NBA players has risen so dramatically since
    Wilt’s day that this record will never be broken. Also, Kobe only came
    close because he was a relentless ball-hog during that game, as he
    pretty much avoided providing an assist to any of his teammates. He’s
    always been extremely egotistical. I mean the guy based his game, his
    look, and even his mannerisms after Jordan’s. Why do you think he chose
    the number 24? He wanted to be the one player that was better than his
    idol, #23. Of course, he will never be able to bring a team together the
    way that Jordan did. He’s a pretender to the throne of the G.O.A.T. Not
    to mention that he had one of the greatest centers of all-time on his
    team for three of his five championships, that person being Shaq.

  • Wilt and Alcindor/Jabbar are tied for, arguably, the greatest b’ball player of all time (so far, anyway).
    Great Nut

  • Appreciate this post. Let me try it out.

  • Chains Of Olympus – This was an okay recreation.