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Wilt Chamberlain.

On this day: March 2, 1962 - Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game

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The name Wilt Chamberlain, in isolation, means many things to many different basketball fans.

He's often revered as one of the greatest big men to ever grace the sport and one of the greatest scorers of all-time. In fact, his name is certainly in the conversation for the greatest there's ever been - period.

One of his supporting pillars to any such arguments is his famous 100-point game back on March 2, 1962.

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Unlike the NBA today, this game was not televised and there is no known footage of the feat in existence. Only the 4,124 spectators in attendance that day can truly cherish Chamberlain's triumph, but there are said to be audio recordings of the game's fourth quarter, which produced a combined 85 points from the two sides.

The NBA wasn't a major league back then like it is now. The contest between the Philadelphia Warriors and the New York Knicks was only covered by a handful of journalists and enjoyed by half the Hershey Sports Arena's capacity.

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But still, what Chamberlain would register that night made an indelible impression on the sport that continues to reverberate around the NBA with every passing success.

The 7'1" Pennsylvania-native went for 36/63 from the field and even racked up the record for free throws made in a single game with 28.

Considering Chamberlain was universally panned for his ability, or lack thereof, from the charity stripe - he has the third worst record in NBA history - it made his accomplishment all the more impressive.

Of course, it's easy to believe the game was different then and, of course, it was. But Chamberlain's record-breaking night was the catalyst behind a lot of the changes the NBA implements to this very day.

In 1964 - after the intimidating, yet friendly center had recorded scores of 73 and 72 in the two-year interim - the NBA widened the lane from 12 feet (3.7 m) to 16 feet (4.9 m) to try and limit Chamberlain's impact on the game.

Imagine that; changing a sport because someone is too good at it?

So he grabbed 100-points once, big whoop right? How good was he?

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers

Incredibly good, is your answer. Chamberlain won seven scoring titles which were substantiated by nine field goal percentage wins. He sits fifth and third respectively on the all-time lists for those aforementioned feats.

The two-time NBA Champion also earned eleven rebounding titles on his way to becoming the top rebounder in the league's entire history; a record that still stands today at 23,924.

The former Lakers man is also the only player in NBA history to average at least 30 points and 20 rebounds per game in a season, something he managed to record seven times. He is also the only player to achieve that same average over the course of his entire NBA career.

In context, Shaquille O'Nel, who is commonly regarded as one of the greatest centers to play the game, had career averages of 16.8 points and 8.1 rebounds a night.

Fellow Laker legend Kobe Bryant is the closest any player has come to the astonishing feat when he erupted to scorch the Toronto Raptors for 81 points back in 2006. Chamberlain is the owner of the next three closest after that.

Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Lakers

When asked about potentially breaking the record following his sensational, career-high display, Kobe said: "It's pretty exhausting to think about it."

It may long be argued that the game back then was faster-paced with friendlier-rims, therefore, more conducive to heroic, once-in-a-lifetime feats like this.

The NBA is a tactical minefield these days comprised of the greatest talent from all over the world. To think someone might break that record someday seems ludicrous and wishful at best.

And therein lies Wilt Chamberlain's legacy: the man that set the bar.

As is the case with some of his records, players have gone on to surpass his legendary benchmarks. However, Chamberlain's 100-point game and subsequent super-human feats have ensured basketball always has a pinnacle to strive towards.

Topics:
LA Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
NBA
Eastern Conference
Philadelphia Sixers
Atlantic Division
New York Knicks

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