On this day in 1962 the Philadelphia Warriors faced off against one of the worst teams in the league in the New York Knicks. This game turned into the perfect storm for Wilt to score and here's why. According to Ben Bolch at the Los Angeles Times:
Even before the opening tip, it wasn’t an even matchup.
The playoff-bound Warriors were facing the lowly Knicks, who would finish with the league’s second-worst record and were missing Phil Jordon, their starting center-forward. The official story was that he was suffering from the flu, though his teammates knew better.
“The inside scoop was he was hung over,” said Darrall Imhoff, the 6-10 center who took Jordon’s spot.
Imhoff started but played only 20 minutes because of foul trouble. That left Cleveland Buckner, a 6-9 rookie from Jackson State, and a host of other undersized defenders to contend with Chamberlain, the irrepressible giant who was then in his third NBA season.
Utilizing an array of putback baskets, free throws, fadeaway jumpers and “Dipper dunks,” named for the gentlemanly fashion in which the so-called Big Dipper laid the ball into the basket, Chamberlain had 41 points by halftime. Not all that extraordinary, considering the Warriors center would score more than 60 points on 15 occasions that season and average 50.4 points per game.
Even as Chamberlain’s assault on his own single-game record of 78 points stretched into the third quarter, it wasn’t clear that anything special was afoot. There was no scoreboard listing individual point totals, so Chamberlain continued to labor without much fanfare.
That soon changed. Pollack sidled up to flamboyant public-address announcer Dave Zinkoff, suggesting that Zinkoff update the crowd of 4,124 on Chamberlain’s swelling point total. It might have been the biggest assist Chamberlain received all game.
“That’s the moment when everyone in the arena has context and everything intensified — crowd interest, curiosity of Wilt’s teammates who wondered, ‘How high can this go?’ and the dread of the New York Knicks,” Pomerantz said. “At that point, the game’s normal rhythms break down and it’s all about Wilt.”
Imhoff said it was then that the Warriors made a concerted effort to foul the Knicks to stop the clock, generating more possessions for Chamberlain. But Chamberlain’s teammate Al Attles insisted that the Knicks were the more pugnacious bunch, and the box score proves it: New York committed 32 fouls to Philadelphia’s 25.
Hacking Chamberlain, a notoriously poor free-throw shooter whose underhand form resembled that of a little boy on the playground, might have seemed like a good idea, but not on this night. He made 28 of 32 free throws, an unfathomable 87.5%.
With little more than a minute to play, Chamberlain had scored 29 points in the fourth quarter to give him 98 for the game. He took a shot and missed. He missed again.
And then it happened. Chamberlain took a pass from teammate Joe Ruklick and drove toward the basket with 46 seconds left.
“A Dipper dunk!” Warriors radio broadcaster Bill Campbell blurted. “The fans are all over the floor! One hundred points for Wilt Chamberlain!”
There was still some history to make.
A tremendous accomplishment that will never be topped again, however like all great accomplishments there is always someone or something that refutes it. For Wilt's 100 it the lack of proof to back it up. Because the game was played at a poorly lit Hershey Sports Arena, the game was not televised, therefore there is no video recordings of the game. The only audio record of the game is that from a student who recorded part of the radio rebroadcast of the game later that night. Because of the unpopularity of the NBA in the early 60s and how meaningless the game was for the standings, none of the major publications sent a reporter to Hershey to cover the game. Because of this Harvey Pollack, the Warriors publicity director, was the only person reporting on the game that night and keeping track of all the statistics. He has been persistent throughout his life that there was no foul play on his end, but if there ever was a perfect situation to pump up the stats wouldn't this be it?
Personally I believe the 100 points by Wilt are legit. If there was any stat manipulation it was probably very minor like upping him from 96 or 98 to 100. The real story from this night is Wilt's shooting from the free throw line. He shot 87.5% from the line when he was only a 51% shooter from there in his career. He was infamous for shooting his free throws two handed coming up from his legs, like a little kid who's not yet strong enough to shoot overhead. We have not seen anyone come closer to breaking 100 than Kobe when he dropped 81. Klay Thompson had a shot at breaking Kobe's 81 back in 2016 when he had 50 going into the 4th after his 37 point 3rd quarter, which is an NBA record for a quarter.
Craziest thing I've ever seen in basketball. He did not miss a single shot the whole quarter. Unfortunately Klay only got up to 60 points that game. Devin Booker scored 70 against the Celtics a few year ago which is the closest anyone has gotten to Kobe's 81. I don't believe anyone will break 100 points especially in the modern NBA. If anyone was going to do it Kobe would've been the one. I think Kobe's 81 was actually a tad bit more impressive than Wilt's 100 just due to the fact that he did it in the modern NBA which has much better competition and the emphasis is on ball movement rather than individual success. Nonetheless an amazing accomplishment by Wilt on this day in 1962.