• NBA.com Special Coverage: Season of Giants -- 1961-62
The 1961-62 season would be defined by the amazing feats of two players: Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson.
Not only did Chamberlain, the Philadelphia Warriors center, average a staggering 50.4 points, but poured in an NBA-record 100 points in a game against the Knicks on March 2, 1962. Chamberlain was 36-for-63 from the field and went 28-for-32 from the free-throw line in a 169-147 victory. Although 4,124 were in attendance, many thousands more would claim to have been there for decades afterward.
Aside from that scoring feat, Chamberlain proved he was plenty durable, too. He played in all but eight possible minutes for the Warriors and set single-season league records for minutes per game (48.5) and minutes played 3,882.
As for Robertson, all he did was something that has never been done before -- or since: average a triple-double (30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists). In the next three seasons, Robertson would come close to duplicating his accomplishment, but never did.
Chicago had been added to the league as an expansion franchise, and the Packers' center, Walt Bellamy, won Rookie of the Year honors by averaging 31.6 ppg (second in the league behind Chamberlain) and 19.0 rpg and leading the league with a .519 shooting percentage. The Packers would eventually become the Washington Bullets, who would then become the Washington Wizards.
While Chamberlain was setting records that would hold up for decades, the Celtics were busily adding to their dynasty, winning a record 60 games in an 80-game season. In contrast to Chamberlain's scoring feats, no Boston player appeared among the NBA's top 10 in scoring.
Boston and Philadelphia engaged in one of their legendary battles in the Eastern Division Finals, with Sam Jones hitting a jump shot with two seconds left in Game 7 to give the Celtics the win. St. Louis' run of Finals appearances ended with the Lakers winning 54 games and advancing to the Finals against Boston. Boston came back from being down 2-1 and 3-2 in the series to win a fourth straight NBA title in dramatic fashion in Game 7 at the Boston Garden.
Frank Selvy of the Lakers had the chance to put Boston away on the parquet in Game 7. With seconds remaining and the score tied, Selvy was being guarded by Bob Cousy, who had left him momentarily to double-team West. When Hot Rod Hundley passed him the ball, Selvy had a good look at an eight-foot shot.
But his shot bounced off the rim and the game went into overtime, where Boston prevailed 110-107.
"It was a fairly tough shot because I was almost on the baseline," Selvy said. "But I would trade all my points for that last basket."
Eastern Division semifinals
Philadelphia defeated Syracuse (3-2)
Western Division semifinals
Detroit defeated Cincinnati (3-1)
Eastern Division finals
Boston defeated Philadelphia (4-3)
Western Division finals
Los Angeles defeated Detroit (4-2)
Boston defeated Los Angeles (4-3)
Points -- Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia Warriors (50.4)
Assists -- Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals (11.4)
Rebounds -- Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia Warriors (25.7)
FG% -- Walt Bellamy, Chicago Packers (51.9)
FT% -- Dolph Schayes, Syracuse Nationals (89.7)
Most Valuable Player -- Bill Russell, Boston Celtics
Rookie of the Year -- Walt Bellamy, Chicago Packers
All-Star Game MVP -- Bob Pettit, St. Louis Hawks