On March 2, 1962 at the Hershey Sports Arena, Wilt Chamberlain scored an NBA record 100 points in a single game. It’s a record that has never been broken and is very unlikely to ever be matched.
Today is the 50th anniversary of that magical feat and ever since I was a kid, I thought that might have been the coolest record ever.
But as the years have gone by, the reality of that record starts to become a little more fictitious. Chamberlain’s performance now appears to be a performance of not a mortal, but rather a mythical legend of our imagination.
Did it really happen?
It is an urban legend. It’s a story you tell kids around the campfire. It’s a bedtime story that you tell your kids along with your Paul Bunyan tales. It’s so unlikely, it can’t be real.
Part of this thinking is due to the fact that there was not a lot of coverage of this event. This game was not broadcast on television and there were very few reporters on hand. Only 4,124 fans were in attendance. And there were very few images from that game — with the most common one being the one above.
Unlike NFL Films or classic baseball archives, some parts of NBA history were never recorded on film. Because of that, I have never seen any footage of this game. I can only go off of what is being told to me and the box score from that game.
Every time the conversation of Chamberlain’s 100-point game is brought up, it gets harder to believe it actually happened because it was so long ago and there is very little evidence that prove that it existed.
Of course, another reason why it is so hard to believe it happened was because it actually is a very difficult thing to do. Kobe Bryant scored 81 points several years back but he had the benefit of the three-point shot (he made seven of them). Center David Robinson had 71 points and I thought that was hard enough to do. Michael Jordan’s career-best was 69 points.
So as I look back at this achievement that happened 50 years ago, it still amazes that his record happened. I know it happened and I believe it did. But it still seems unreal.
It was an accomplishment that no mortal could ever reach. And if Chamberlain really did score 100 points in a game, then I guess he was a non-mortal — a giant among men. The only “man” to achieve 100 and 20,000 in his lifetime.