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Chamberlain Scored 100 Points!

There was probably no greater admirer of Wilt Chamberlain than the old New York Knick head coach Red Holzman.

When I was writing "Holzman on Hoops" in 1990, Red told me, "Wilt was taller than the seven-foot-one he was listed as. And he was a bull. He worked out mainly on his own with his own methods. He lifted a lot of weights, and did a lot of running at the beach.

"Part of his strength was his ability to come back from injuries," Holzman noted. "Wilt would get hurt and come back so fast you couldn't believe it. An injury that would sideline another player for a month or more would lay up Wilt for just a week."

Knick centers were given directions by Holzman, “Do not touch Wilt if he is under the basket going up in the act of shooting”.

Holzman went on to add, “Down under, there was no way Wilt would ever miss scoring no matter how hard he was hit. He was just so powerful".

The night of nights for Chamberlain on a basketball court took place March 2, 1962. The game was played in Hershey, Pennsylvania, of all places. Chamberlain's Philadelphia Warrior team was matched up against the New York Knicks. An exhibition game took place first between players from two professional football teams - the Philadelphia Eagles and the Baltimore Colts. Wilt was bigger and stronger than any of the guys on those teams.

In the first quarter of the game, Chamberlain was just warming up. He popped in 23 points, while the crowd chanted, "Give it to Wilt! Give it to Wilt!" In the second quarter, he scored 18 points. Up to that game, the most points Wilt had ever amassed in a contest was 78, but he had 69 points after the third quarter and seemed a cinch to break his own standard.

But no one expected him to do what he did. Although three Knicks each scored over 30 points in the game, no one cared. It was Chamberlain’s night.

With 42 seconds to go in the game, Chamberlain received the ball under the basket and stuffed it in with two hands for his 99th and 100th points. They had to hold up the game after he hit the century mark. Fans mobbed the court trying to get a piece of the man they called "The Big Dipper". All told, he hit 36 of 63 field goal attempts and made 28 of 32 free throws for a grand total of 100 points. The magnificent performance was a part of a 1961-62 season, in which he averaged 50.4 points.

After the game Chamberlain told everyone who would listen, "I wasn't even thinking of hitting 100. After putting in nine straight free throws, I was thinking about a foul-shooting record".

Foul shots were Chamberlain’s obsession on the court - and only real weakness as well.

Since the days of Wilton Norman Chamberlain, great scorers have come and gone, but none of them has ever come close to matching the record of 100 points scored in an NBA game. And the guess here is that no one ever will.

No one ever did it better than Wilt.

# # #

You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

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Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

 

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