Basketball is a journey in and of itself. The story of the game is told by those with the talent, grace and awe-factor to redefine, reshape, and revolutionize what started with two peach baskets 126 years ago. 100 Days of Hoops is a celebration of the evolution and history of the game we love. This is a journey through both time and space through the basketball realm.
Over the course of the next 100 days, Hardwood Features invites you to join in on this exploration of hoops heritage, counting down from 100 to 1. The number of each day will feature a piece of hoops history significant to the day of the countdown. These posts will commemorate groundbreaking years, revolutionary players, and basketball titans that were so influential the very rules of the game were altered around them. This is 100 days of hoops.
On March 2, 1962, New York Knickerbocker’s starting center, Phil Jordan was out with the flu. No day is ever a good day to be sick, but the day your team is slated to play the Philadelphia Warriors and your assignment is to guard a 25-year-old Wilt Chamberlain… let’s just say you may be letting the squad down a bit by taking a sick day.
Guarded by Darrall Imhoff and Cleveland Buckner, Chamberlain got off to a very hot start, scoring 23 of the Warriors’ 42 first-quarter points. Chamberlain is well known as the most dominant player ever to play the game and this game took place in his most dominant season, averaging a preposterous 50.4 points per game. The only place Chamberlain was even close to stoppable was at the free throw line where he shot only 61 percent. Through the first 12 quarter, however, “Wilt the Stilt” was a perfect nine of nine from the stripe. By halftime, he had accumulated 41 points. In the third, he added another 28. With fans chanting, “Give it to Wilt!”, Chamberlain went 12 of 21 from the field and seven of 10 from the charity stripe through the final 12 minutes of the game to finish the night.
Chamberlain played all 48 minutes in the Warriors 169-147 victory over the Knickerbockers. 100 of the Warriors’ points, famously belonged to Chamberlain who went 36 of 63 from the field and 28 of 32 from the foul line. While Chamberlain’s 100 is unlikely to ever be matched or surpassed, another Warrior recently came close in his own way.
December 5, 2016, Klay Thompson of the now Golden State Warriors scored 60 points in just 29 minutes to traumatize the Indiana Pacers. Thompson’s performance breaks down to 2.07 points per minute which is just shy of Chamberlain’s 2.08 54 years earlier. When adjusting Thompson’s performance to the same minutes played by Chamberlain, Thompson was on pace to finish between 99 and 100 points. If Chamberlain’s record ever is to be broken, it will likely be done by a player like Thompson who went eight for 14 from the 3-point line that night. The 3-point line was not implemented to the NBA until the start of the 1979-80 season, seven years after Chamberlain’s retirement following the 1972-73 season.