Analysis: After 60 years, Wilt’s 100 remains untouchable

Feb 28, 2022, 9:35 AM | Updated: 11:41 pm
FILE - Wilt Chamberlain, of the Philadelphia Warriors, holds a sign reading "100" in the dressing r...

FILE - Wilt Chamberlain, of the Philadelphia Warriors, holds a sign reading "100" in the dressing room in Hershey, Pa., March 2, 1962, after he scored 100 points, as the Warriors defeated the New York Knicks. Wednesday marks the 60th anniversary of the greatest scoring effort in NBA history — 36 field goals, 28 free throws, 100 points for Chamberlain, in the Warriors’ 169-147 win in a game played before about 4,000 people in Hershey. It might be the closest thing the NBA has to a single-game record that will never be broken. (AP Photo/Paul Vathis, File)

(AP Photo/Paul Vathis, File)

There’s irony in the fact that no video is known to exist of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game for the Philadelphia Warriors on March 2, 1962.

Nobody can watch it now.

Nobody has seen anything like it, either. And probably never will.

Wednesday marks the 60th anniversary of the greatest scoring effort in NBA history — 36 field goals, 28 free throws, 100 points for Chamberlain, in the Warriors’ 169-147 win over the New York Knicks in a game played before about 4,000 people in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It might be the closest thing the NBA has to a single-game record that will never be broken.

Chamberlain, for the record, disagreed with that sentiment.

“I think it can be broken,” he said in 1987, around the 25th anniversary of the historic night.

Not yet. Not even close.

Kobe Bryant scored 81 points for the Los Angeles Lakers one night against Toronto, the closest anyone has ever come to Chamberlain’s mark. David Thompson scored 73, Elgin Baylor and David Robinson each scored 71, and Devin Booker had a 70-point game.

That’s it. Think about it: No player has gotten closer than 19 points to 100, and only five have come within 30 points. Even in this era in which 3-pointers are all the rage — remember, they were about two decades from existence when Chamberlain set the record — hardly anyone has gotten within 30 points of history.

Booker got his 70-point game in 2017. Carmelo Anthony and Stephen Curry each had a 62-point effort in the last decade. James Harden has hit the 60-point mark four times, Damian Lillard three times, while Klay Thompson and LeBron James each got there once.

A 60-piece, that’s obviously huge.

But it’s also nowhere near the record.

Break down the numbers, and it starts to make sense why nobody has come close.

To get to 100 points, that’s two 50-point halves. In the last 25 years, nobody has had more first-half points in a game than Bryant, who had 42 against Washington in 2003. And the only 50-point second halves in the last 25 years belong to Bryant (55 against Toronto in the 81-point game in 2006) and Booker (51 against Boston in his 70-point game in 2017).

So, forget the 50-point halves. Let’s try four 25-point quarters. Nobody has had more of those in the last 25 years than Curry, who can get on a hot streak like few others can dream about.

Curry’s career high for a first quarter is 25 points. For a second quarter, 26 points. For a third quarter, 28 points. And for a fourth quarter, 21 points.

That’s the best of his best, the hottest of his hottest, the four best regular-season quarter performances he’s ever had.

They add up to exactly 100 points.

Picturing him having those four insane quarters in one night is, well, let’s just say it doesn’t seem likely, even for perhaps the greatest shooter the game has ever seen.

There are so many more hints that another 100-point night just aren’t going to happen.

— Chamberlain took 63 shots from the field that night. Nobody has taken more than 50 in a game since.

— Chamberlain played all 48 minutes of that game. That hardly ever happens anymore, either. Chamberlain was on the floor all the way to the end in what would be considered a blowout. Few coaches would dare do that now with their best players, for fear that a $40-million-a-year guy turns an ankle or worse.

Consider all that, and the record just looks safer and safer.

Besides, the record, as it currently stands, is perfect.

It’s 100, a perfectly round number. Think 100 in the NBA, you think of Chamberlain. Fans don’t think of the highlights of that game, because they don’t exist. They think of him holding up that white piece of paper with “100” scrawled on it after the game, because someone was smart enough to snap a few pictures when history was made.

“It’s a record I’d hate to try to break myself,” someone said after that game.

That someone was Wilt Chamberlain.

Even he wanted no part of chasing this one.


Tim Reynolds is a national basketball writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at treynolds(at)


More on the NBA At 75:


More AP NBA: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne, right, and Belgium's Axel Witsel during the Nations League soccer match ...
Associated Press

Brazil will be top-ranked team at World Cup in Qatar

ZURICH (AP) — Brazil will go to this year’s World Cup as the top-rated team after extending its lead over second-place Belgium in the latest FIFA rankings released Thursday. Brazil won its two warmup games in September — against Ghana and Tunisia — while Belgium lost to the Netherlands in one of its two Nations […]
1 day ago
Arizona Coyotes forward Barrett Hayton, left, collides with Anaheim Ducks defenseman John Klingberg...
Associated Press

Drop the puck: What to know about the 2022-23 NHL season

The NHL is back to normal with the regular season stretching from October through the middle of April before the two-month thrill ride that is the chase for the Stanley Cup. Over that time, teams are scheduled to play a total of 1,312 games over 189 days, starting with Nashville and San Jose facing off […]
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) battle for t...
Associated Press

LeBron in Vegas? He makes an expansion pitch to Adam Silver

LAS VEGAS (AP) — LeBron James came to Las Vegas for a preseason game. And a pitch. James, who has spoken in the past about wanting to eventually own an NBA franchise — with Las Vegas on his mind — sent a crystal-clear message to Commissioner Adam Silver on Wednesday night, reminding him of his […]
1 day ago
FILE - Dallas Stars' Jason Robertson skates during the third period of an NHL hockey game against t...
Associated Press

Stars sign 41-goal scorer Robertson to $31M, 4-year deal

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Jason Robertson has signed a $31 million, four-year contract with the Dallas Stars after the young 40-goal scorer missed the first two weeks of training camp. The Stars announced the deal late Wednesday night, after their exhibition game in Denver, only a week before the regular season opener Oct. 13 at […]
1 day ago
The ski slopes are almost devoid of snow at the Tūroa ski field, on Mt. Ruapehu, New Zealand on Se...
Associated Press

Missing snow puts famed New Zealand ski areas on precipice

TUROA SKI AREA, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s Turoa ski area is usually a white wonderland at this time of year, its deep snowpack supporting its famed spring skiing. This season, it’s largely a barren moonscape, with tiny patches of snow poking out between vast fields of jagged volcanic boulders. The ski area was […]
1 day ago
FILE - Kansas City Royals pitching coach Cal Eldred in the seventh inning of a baseball game, May 1...
Associated Press

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians. The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, […]
1 day ago
Analysis: After 60 years, Wilt’s 100 remains untouchable