50 years ago today, Wilt Chamberlain accomplished the greatest individual feat in NBA history, scoring 100 points in a 169-147 victory for the Philadelphia Warriors over the New York Knicks in Hershey, PA. Chamberlain was 36-63 from the field and 28-32 at the free throw line.
Chamberlain’s 1961-62 season is as incredible as that single night in Hersey. That season, Chamberlain averaged 50.4 PPG and 25.7 RPG. We get excited for a 20/10 season in this day and age. Chamberlain averaged 50 and 25 in the season that he had his 100 point game. The statistical achievments in Chamberlain’s career simply cannot be fully appreciated because they are so far above and beyond what our contemporary minds can fathom.
Incredibly, the only remnants that survive Wilt’s 100 point game are parts of the original radio broadcast, a few still photos, and personal accounts that have turned into myth and legend. Philadelphia Warriors play by play man Bill Campbell had the call of the game.
Below are the final two baskets of Chamberlain’s historic night as they were heard on the radio 50 years ago with Campbell’s commentary. It’s almost better that no video exists of Chamberlain’s 100 point night. Instead of seeing what happened that historic evening and having it be just another highlight from yesterday, we’re left to imagine what it must have been like to see Wilt score 100. We don’t have the benefit of being able to imagine much anymore in sports, but you can listen to these few minutes from that night and do just that…
There’s a few interesting elements that come from listening to that video. Chamberlain actually missed three field goal attempts between his 35th and 36th field goal. When Philadelphia got the ball back after New York free throws, Campbell was concerned the Knicks may foul other Warriors players to prevent Chamberlain from reaching the 100 point milestone. The anticipation and excitement in Campbell’s voice and the crowd builds as Wilt missed two attempts on that possession and Ted Luckenbill grabbed two offensive rebounds. When Wilt finally connected on a “Dipper Dunk” to reach 100 points with 46 seconds remaining, the few fans that were in attendance stormed the court, perhaps not even knowing the full magnitude of what they had just witnessed.
“The most amazing scoring performance of all-time, 100 points for the Big Dipper.”