By: Ian Wixted
Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain was a goliath both on the court and off. Standing at a staggering 7’1”, the man became one of Philadelphia’s greatest folk tales. After having a successful college career at Kansas and an entertaining year as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters, Wilt made his NBA debut on October 24, 1959.
It was known from the first game that this rookie was a force the NBA could not contain. In his debut game, Wilt put up ridiculous stats: 43 points and 28 rebounds against the New York Knicks. In his first year he averaged 37.6 points and 27 rebounds, setting a new record for single-season stats, while also bringing home the league MVP and Rookie of the Year. Winning both awards only happened one more time after Chamberlain. Wilt Chamberlain became known for breaking records and his on-court rivalry with Hall of Famer and 11-time champion Bill Russel, but those topics are for another time. We are here now to remember one of the craziest performances in all of sports, the night when Wilt Chamberlin’s stat line read: 1-0-0!
No one would have thought a game between the powerhouse Philadelphia Warriors (46-29) vs. the injured last place New York Knickerbockers (27-45) would garner any special attention, in fact, fans were there to see an exhibition basketball game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Baltimore Colts.
The game was being played at the Hershey Sports Arena in Hershey Pennsylvania, a gym that was initially made for ice hockey. The Warriors would play remote games in towns like Hershey to attract new fans, and I’m sure they did that on this night.
March 2, 1962 would become a date that many NBA fans would never forget. The night when one player single handedly scored 100 points!
Wilt Chamberlain was an unstoppable force the entire game and his stat line broke down like this:
For being known as a dismal free throw shooter, Wilt shot an incredible 28-32 from the charity stripe. Pulling in 25 rebounds to go along with his 100 point night, Wilt Chamberlain was the first person to say this night wouldn’t have been possible without his teammates: “It wouldn’t have been close to possible without them. They wanted me to get it as much I did.” Not putting himself in the spotlight, Chamberlain even admitted that the 63 shots he took that night was too many, and most were shots he would have never taken if history wasn’t on the line.
A night so unbelievable that most people to this day would argue that it didn’t happen, there was no televised recording only a radio broadcast. But this night did happen and history was made, a record was stamped in NBA lore that will never be touched. March 2nd will forever be remembered by NBA fans as the day when a man from Philly did the impossible!
If you would like the full scope of this historic night, watch this ESPN video on Wilt’s 100 point game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyOPC2mNR-s