Wilt Chamberlain is one player who will have his name in the history books for a long time. The famous NBA star is known for scoring 100 points in a single game. The record has never been broken since and is unlikely ever to be broken. Despite this, Chamberlain is not known as the greatest player of all time. Why not? How did he achieve this miraculous score if he is not the best there ever was?
100 points is an incredible score. No one has come close to matching it despite some of the best basketball players ever to have played in recent years. Jordan and James can only marvel at a score of 100 points in a single game. Kobe Bryant is the player who came closest with a score of 81, still a long way off. The score, therefore, stands out as strange. Either Wilt played the greatest game of his life (and anyone’s life) or the odds were more than in his favor. While the achievement is incredible it turns out the odds were more than on his side that night.
To start with the game was a no-contest from the beginning. Wilt’s team was on a record of 46 wins to 29 losses, well on their way to the playoffs. They were playing against the Knicks who were in the last position on 27 wins and 45 losses. While the Knicks team was not in great shape, to begin with, a number of their best players didn’t play. Phil Jordan was the star player for the Knicks and would have been marking Wilt but he didn’t play. A much more inexperienced Darrall Imhoff had to step in. Even Imhoff who doesn’t match up that well against Wilt would have been some contest, but he was replaced after 20 minutes in the game for a fouling issue. A total rookie stepped in to mark Wilt Chamberlain. Cleveland Buckner came into the game and Wilt could not have asked for an easier night.
What made it even easier was that once the scores started to build, his team realized what was on the table and started to feed him the ball. They wanted him to reach the 100 score and so did anything to help him, even passing up easy scoring opportunities. This would not be possible in today’s game as it is seen as disrespectful in the modern game. Even worse the coach brought on more players to deliberately foul the opposition so that they could get the ball to Wilt faster. Everything was done to help Wilt reach a score of 100.
He still did it though. Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a single game of basketball. It is incredible but it must be taken in light of the circumstances. While he had an incredible night and was a fantastic player he does not deserve the same accolades as Jordan or James. A great player with a great record but everything within context.