Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game was a singular athletic achievement
On March 2, 1962, the Philadelphia Warriors hosted the New York Knicks and beat them 169 to 147. Wilt Chamberlain led all scorers, with a record-setting 100 points. It’s certainly an impressive feat. But with more context, the lofty legend falls a bit closer to earth.
For example, the Warriors were a playoff-bound elite team, and the Knicks were comfortably at the bottom of the Eastern Division standings. It was likely the Warriors would crush the Knicks anyway, especially since they lacked starter Phil Jordan, who was officially out with the flu, but whom teammates suspected was hungover. The Knicks could only offer up a series of defenders much smaller than Chamberlain, enabling him to easily rack up a ridiculous 41 points by halftime, according to the LA Times.
Even into the third quarter, few fans in Hershey Arena thought too much of Chamberlain’s stats, as the scoreboard in the facility didn’t display individual player totals. But Harvey Pollack — the Warriors publicity director, was keeping track, and he asked the arena’s announcer to let the fans know what was going on. Suddenly Warriors fans and players all seemed to share the same goal: to see how far Chamberlain could go. He was given the ball often, taking a whopping 63 shots in all. Plus, he got in a lot of free throws, being frequently fouled by the Knicks. All of that cleared the path for Chamberlain to hit triple digits.