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Today is the 51st anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in the NBA. Wilt’s Philadelphia Warriors defeated the New York Knicks in that March 2, 1962 game 169-147 where he scored on 36 baskets and 28 free throws.
Here’s a brief look at some stats that you might not know about Wilt’s career. Enjoy.
1. Wilt played his first NBA game on October 24, 1959 for the Philadelphia Warriors in a game against the New York Knicks. Wilt scored 43 and grabbed 28 rebounds in his NBA debut. After playing two seasons at the University of Kansas, Chamberlain joined the Harlem Globetrotters and played with that traveling team one season before eventually joining the NBA. His massive NBA debut with 43 points and 28 rebounds was not uncommon in his basketball playing career; in his college debut with Kansas, Wilt scored 52 points and had 31 boards in his debut with the school.
2. As mentioned above, Wilt attended Kansas. He is one of seven Kansas graduates who have scored more than 10,000 points in the NBA and one of four players to have scored 12,000 or more points. Can you name the other three players who attended Kansas who have scored 12,000 or more NBA points? Answer at the end of this blog.
3. Chamberlain was a professional basketball coach for one year. Retiring from the NBA after the 1972-73 season at the age of 37, Wilt took over as head coach of the San Diego Conquistadors in the old American Basketball Association. The Conquistadors compiled a 37-47 in that season, which would be Wilt’s only head coaching season.
4. Much has been made of Wilt’s scoring and rebounding prowess, but did you know that in one season Wilt led the league with the most assists? In 1967-68, Chamberlain led the NBA with 702 assists. Also that season he led the league in rebounding and was third in scoring.
5. In that game where Wilt scored 100 points, he set the NBA record by making 28 free throws (he stills holds a share of that record with Adrian Dantley who also made 28 in a game). Known as a notoriously bad free throw shooter, in that 100-point game Wilt made 28 of 32 free throws, a .875 percentage. Ironically, Wilt finished only one season with a free throw shooting percentage above .600 (that was in 1961-62, the season in which he scored 100 points in a game). He finished that year with a .613 free throw percentage. His career mark was .511 at the charity stripe. In seven of his 14 NBA seasons, Wilt finished below .500 at the free throw line.
6. There have been 62 times in NBA history that a player scored 60 or more points in a game. Wilt had 60 or more in more than half of those games; he had 60-plus in 32 NBA contests. There have been 20 different players who have reached that 60-point mark; following Wilt’s 32 such games is Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant each with five games of 60-plus points in their careers, and Elgin Baylor with four 60-point games. In the 32 games that Wilt scored 60-plus, his teams won 21 and lost 11 (a .656 winning percentage). In the other 30 games where players scored 60 or more points, those teams were 24-6 (a .800 winning percentage).
Trivia Answer: The other players who attended Kansas who have scored 12,000 or more points in the NBA: Paul Pierce (23,670), JoJo White (14,399) and Danny Manning (12,367).
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