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Posnanski on Wilt's 100-point game

Mar 2, 2010, 5:08 PM EDT

Today makes it 48 years since Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a single game, one of the most most recognizable single-game records in the history of team sports. Writing for Sports Illustrated, Joe Posnanski talks about Chamberlain’s relationship with Frank McGuire. McGuire was Chamberlain’s coach during his 100-point game, and famously never took Wilt out of a game. Since Wilt never fouled out, he ended up averaging 48.5 minutes a game for that season. During that season, Wilt took 3,159 shots. 

Here’s what Posnanski said about the coach who relied on Wilt far more than any other NBA coach has ever relied on any other player:
“Frank McGuire’s gift — people always said — was his ability to inspire confidence in people. Dean Smith would talk about how he loved golfing with McGuire because those were the days he made eight-foot putts. Lots of people said stuff like that. And McGuire made Wilt Chamberlain feel limitless. It’s not that Chamberlain ever lacked for confidence — after all, there was a story in the Saturday Evening Post calling him the greatest basketball player who ever lived. And that came out before Chamberlain played his first college game. But something about that combination — the brilliance of Wilt Chamberlain and the confidence of Frank McGuire — led to something magical.”

Wilt’s 100 means different things to different people. Most look at the number scrawled in charcoal on that piece of paper and are blown away by the sheer ability it takes to score 100 points in a single game. Others see the game as a microcosm of the excesses of Wilt’s career, with one of Wilt’s greatest achievements coming in a regular-season blowout that ended with the Warriors fouling the Knicks to get Wilt the ball back. However it is you feel about Wilt’s 100, it’s a perfect record for the ultimate volume scorer. 

  1. Mike Sabia - Mar 2, 2010 at 7:00 PM

    Wilt never really got the credit that his achievements deserved. Bill Russell won all the championships. But Bill was on a team loaded with talent. Bill only really had to work hard on one end of the court. Wilt had to play both ends of the court and sprint to both ends to to be in every sequence. It is unfortunate for both players that the best 2 centers of all time were playing against each other.
    Players from that time period did not play in a talent diluted league. They also played with out the miracles of modern medicine. When today’s great rebounders average 14 rebounds a game, it must be noted that both Bill and Wilt averaged over 28 rebounds per game in a single season.
    As a person who saw them battle against each other, I can truely say that they were by far the best at their postions. As for who was the best, it doesn’t matter. To the spectators, there was no greater match up ever in basketball.

  2. Barry - Mar 2, 2010 at 9:10 PM

    I saw Wilt score 70 against the Lakers one time at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles. He’d have made 90 or more if they had not played good defense against him. They lost to Baylor, West and the Lakers that night as the magical Laker duo scores about 80 between them. Wilt’s incredible strength and jumping ability made him unstoppable and it would be the same today if he played.

  3. tess - Mar 3, 2010 at 4:20 PM

    N o one changed basketdall then the big dipper. When greatness is measured consider how the lane was widened, goal tending created,inbound passes from behind a teams own backboard were among the rules imposed to dim his achievements. The Celtics beat his team by playing then illegal zone defenses. Russell never contained him one on one, neither did Bellamy, Thurmond, Kerr or any of the other talented big men playing at the time. His ecord 55 rebounds in one game came against the Celts. Pundits today create records that have no validity in fact. MJ scored 25 plus points in 40 consecutive games. So what? Check box scores for 61,62,63, and you will learn Wilt went whole years in which he never scored less then 25 points or grabbed under 10 rebounds. A singular talent who defies comparison

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