NBA.com takes a look back at the top moments that define the history of the NBA.
On March 2, 1962, Wilt Chamberlain set the NBA single-game scoring record by tallying 100 points for the Philadelphia Warriors in a 169-147 victory over the New York Knicks.
Not 98 points, not 102, but a nice, round 100 — an imposing record set by a most imposing player.
Chamberlain was a gargantuan force in the NBA, a player of Bunyanesque stature who seemed to overshadow all around him. He was a dominant offensive force, unstoppable on his way to the basket, yet he was also a fine all-around athlete who took pride in developing the all-around skills to compete with players a half-foot shorter.
He certainly was unstoppable that night in Hershey, Pa., where the Warriors played a few of their “home” games in order to attract additional fans. With New York’s starting center, Phil Jordan, sidelined by the flu, Chamberlain could not be contained by Darrall Imhoff and Cleveland Buckner. He scored 23 points in the first quarter and had 41 by halftime, then tallied 28 in the third quarter, when the fans began to chant, “Give It To Wilt! Give It To Wilt!”
That’s exactly what the Warriors did, feeding Chamberlain at every opportunity in the fourth quarter. The Knicks tried fouling other Philadelphia players to keep the ball away from Chamberlain, but the Warriors countered by committing fouls of their own to get the ball back.
Finally, Chamberlain took a pass from Joe Ruklick and hit a short shot with 46 seconds left to give him 100 points. Fans raced onto the court and play was halted as Chamberlain went to the lockerroom, where PR man Harvey Pollack scrawled “100” on a piece of paper and had Chamberlain hold it up for photographers.
In obliterating his previous NBA scoring record of 78 points set less than three months earlier, Chamberlain shot 36-for-63 from the field and 28-for-32 from the foul line, a remarkable feat for a man whose career free throw percentage was a weak 51.1%.