In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors reaches the unreachable summit by dropping 100 points on the skulls of the New York Knicks. The 100-point game is perhaps one of the most timeless and awe-inspiring individual performances in the history of sports. Over the years, millions have claimed to be among the 4,124 fans at the Hershey Sports Arena in Pennsylvania as the Warriors took down the Knicks 169-147, also setting a record for the highest-scoring game in NBA history. Wilt Chamberlain finishes the game with 100 points, making 36 of 63 shots from the field and 28 of 32 shots from the free-throw line. Chamberlain added 25 rebounds in the historical performance.
At 7’1,” no player cut a more intimidating pose than Wilt Chamberlain. Nicknamed “Wilt the Stilt,” Chamberlain was born in Philadelphia on August 21, 1936. After staring at Overbrook High School in Philadelphia, Chamberlain chose to attend the University of Kansas coached by Phog Allen. At the time, a freshman was not allowed to play in the NCAA. Finally, getting on the floor, Wilt Chamberlain led Kansas to the NCAA Championship Game, where they lost a heartbreaker in triple overtime to North Carolina. Despite the loss, Chamberlain was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. Wilt the Stilt found himself frustrated by his junior season as teams played keep away to prevent the Kansas Center from dominating. This led him to leave college after the season, accepting $10,000 from Look Magazine to explain why he left college.
Unable to play in the NBA right away, Wilt Chamberlain spent a year with the Harlem Globetrotters, earning $50,000. A significant part of his year with the Barnstorming Princes of basketball was a tour of the Soviet Union. Once his senior class graduated, Wilt Chamberlain could join the NBA. At the time, teams had territorial rights over players; thus, Chamberlain ended up on the Philadelphia Warriors. Wilt's rookie season was among the most dominant in NBA history as he won Rookie of the Year in 1960, leading the league with a record 37.6 points and 27 rebounds per game.
Wilt Chamberlain increased his records in his second season, averaging 38.4 ppg and 27.2 rebounds per game, which still stands as the standard-bearer. Wilt Chamberlain continued his dominance in his third season, again leading the league in scoring and rebounds. He finished the season with 50.4 points per game, a record that will never be broken. In addition, he averaged 25.7 rebounds per game.
Wilt Chamberlain had already set the single-game record with 78 points against the Los Angeles Lakers on December 8, 1961. The Warriors were hosting the Knicks in Hershey to draw new fans. It was a Friday night late in the season, and the Warriors, coached by Frank McGuire, were locked into second place at 46-29 as the Knicks led by Eddie Donovan were dead last at 27-45. Chamberlain had a robust first quarter, scoring 23 points as Philadelphia built a 42-26 lead. In the quarter, Wilt made all nine free throws, a part of his game, where he had his struggles. The Knicks had a solid second quarter to cut into the Warriors' lead. The Warriors led 79-68, as Wilt had 41 points.
During halftime, teammate Guy Rogers implored the rest of the Warriors to get the ball to Wilt Chamberlain, sparking an unforgettable third quarter. Chamberlain scored 28 points and had 69 with 12 minutes to go as the Warriors' lead was 125-106. Wilt needed four points for the regulation record and nine points for the overall record. He would break the record with 7:51 remaining as PA announcer Dave Zinkoff updated the total after every basket. In the final four minutes, sensing the moment, Wilt Chamberlain took every shot for the Warriors. Chamberlain reached 96 points with 2:12 on the clock with a fadeaway jumper. He dunked home his 98th point after a lob from York Larese with 79 seconds remaining.
Looking for the century mark, Chamberlain missed his first shot as Ted Luckenbill got the rebound and passed it back to him. Wilt Chamberlain missed again as time began to tick away. Luckenbill again got the board passed it Joe Rucklick, who gave it to Wilt, who moved freely and got to 100 points with a layup. The crowd was whipped up to a frenzy as 200 spectators rushed onto the floor with 46 seconds left to touch Wilt Chamberlain.
The Warriors won the game 169-147 as the news of the 100-point game became the big story in sports. Though there was no video or television coverage of the game, Chamberlain appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" two days later to discuss the performance that stands as the NBA's most fantastic game.