On This Date in Sports March 9, 1958: Yardley Mark
In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
George Yardley of the Detroit Pistons becomes the first player to score 2,000 points in an NBA season. Yardley scores 26 points in the season's final game to finish with 2,001 points. The previous best was 1,932 points by George Mikan of the Minneapolis Lakers in the 1950/51 season. Despite Yardley's efforts, the Pistons are beaten on the road by the Syracuse Nationals 111-98. George Yardley's record would last one season as Bob Pettitt of the St. Louis Hawks had 2,105 points in the 1958/59 season. The current record was set by Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors when he scored 4,029 points.
George Yardley was born in Hollywood, California, on November 3, 1928. Yardley attended Stanford, where he was a two-time All-American. At Stanford, he earned the nickname Yardbird. George Yardley was drafted seventh by the Fort Wayne Pistons in 1950. However, the NBA had to wait as Yardley served two years in the Navy. While in the Navy, Yardley was on an AAU championship team.
George Yardley made his NBA debut with the Fort Wayne Pistons in 1953. He struggled in his rookie season but was named an All-Star in his next six seasons. With Yardley leading the way, the Pistons reached the NBA Finals in 1955 and 1956. After the 1956/57 season, the Pistons and the NBA's growth moved to Detroit as the day of the small market team was gone.
The Pistons' first season in Detroit was lackluster, as they posted a record of 33-39 as they made a midseason coaching change from Charles Eckman to Red Rocha. They would make the playoffs and reach the Western Divison Finals, losing to the eventual champion St. Louis Hawks. For winning the scoring title, George Yardley, who averaged 27.1 points per game, finished third in MVP voting behind Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics and Dolph Schayes of the Syracuse Nationals.