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What was more impressive: Chamberlain’s 100 point game or Kobe’s 81?

Mar 2, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

wilt-chamberlain-100-point-game-thumb-400xauto-31440 AP

Here is the statistic that most amazes me about Wilt Chamberlain’s 1962 season — he AVERAGED 50.4 points and 25.7 rebounds a game. Averaged. No player in the history of the league has been as physically superior to everyone around him as early Wilt.

Notice I did not say his legendary 100-point game, which happened exactly 50 years ago tonight. What Chamberlain did on March 2, 1962 in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is certainly and deservedly celebrated. It is an amazing accomplishment that I don’t think will ever be matched (not everyone agrees with that).

I also would also say Kobe Bryant’s 81-point game against the Raptors was more impressive.

I do not wish to disparage Chamberlain, who had scored 73 points in a game a few months before and was having a season for the ages. No doubt when the Warriors faced the Knicks in Hershey he was having a special kind of night, dominating the game in a 169-147 Warriors win.

Chamberlain handled the ball 125 times in that game, had 63 shots, 32 free throws, 25 rebounds, and played all 48 minutes. He overwhelmed the Knicks defenders. Remember that back then the pace of the game was much faster, so he got more attempts in that game than an NBA player would today. But don’t hold that against Wilt — this was about effort and a workman like effort. He stole inbound passes, played defense and showed this was no fluke.

But the fourth quarter was. The Warriors would foul the Knicks intentionally to stop the clock and get the ball back so they could feed Chamberlain. The Knicks fouled him back to create a free throw battle. The game was in the Warriors hands and Chamberlain asked out but his coach wanted the 100 and left him in. The Knicks coach after the game called it a farce.

Kobe’s points came in the flow of the game — the Lakers were on a two-game losing streak and were down 14 at the half to the lowly Toronto Raptors. The Lakers needed Kobe to step up and carry them, they needed him to take over and he did.

Also, Kobe had to create his own shots — Chamberlain got fed the ball in the post, a luxury Kobe did not have.

Chamberlain is a player to be celebrated and his 1962 season may be the best single season a player has ever had. His 100-point game is an amazing performance that will never be matched.

But Kobe’s game was better.

  1. trey14jewels - Mar 2, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    1st off, I HATE KOBE BRYANT! With that being said, Kobe’s game was more impressive because of his 3 point shooting display. Just about every one of his 3’s came with a hand or 2 in his face. Wilt was the better player though, and it’s not even close.

  2. atom665 - Mar 2, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Kobe’s was more impressive. Stopping the clock to score is bush league. Shooting jump shots from 15-25 ft a lot harder than 2-5 ft layups and dunks. Both equally unbelievable.

  3. stew48 - Mar 2, 2012 at 6:11 PM


    Agree with your 20,000 statement. And, if it hadn’t been for Bill Russell, Wilt would probably have scored 25,000-30,000. Oh, what battles they had.

    PS-I am 81, kids.

  4. bravecapeproductions - Mar 2, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    I’m sorry, did somebody say that there was any defense on Wilt? Barely. Besides Russell Wilt Was the biggest baddest MF out there. If you took Shaq and actually Got him the ball everytime and of course every single person wan’t jumping on him, Shaq would of been just as unstoppable. AVG 50 no problem. Even a weak Raptors team gave more defense then bak then. Hey all I’m saying is that Wilt probably banged all the players wives! HA

  5. havlicekstoletheball - Mar 2, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    Bryant’s game would have been much more impressive if:

    Bryant had scored twenty more points. And had twenty more rebounds.

    Chamberlain also had 25 rebounds. They didn’t keep blocked shots, but no less an authority than Bill Russell, said that he and Chamberlain probably averaged 8 to 10 a game in their primes. So, say Chamberlain only had 8.

    100 points, 25 rebounds, 8 blocked shots. Bryant had 81, 6, and 1.

  6. sasquash20 - Mar 2, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    Wilt is the best of all time in any sport.

  7. jsharqawi - Mar 2, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    It’s amazing what people will argue about. NBA. So if you like Kobe’s 81, that means youre taking away Wilt’s credit? If you like Wilt’s then youre a moron? How many NBA records you have broken?

  8. nise98 - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    I can’t believe this post. Kobe was better than Wilt…WOW…the talent doesn’t even compare.

  9. klownboy - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:24 PM

  10. philtration - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    Chamberlain scored 50 or more in a game 118 times.
    That alone is mind blowing.
    He holds 15 of the top 22 scoring games in NBA history.

    In a game against a great Lakers team Chamberlain scored 78 points and pulled down 43 rebounds.
    When sports writers questioned him about being just a scorer late in his career he went out and lead the league in assists just to prove a point.
    Anyone that believes that his game would not translate into the NBA today is an idiot.
    He may not average 50 points for the season but he would be the most dominant Center, and probably player in the game right now.
    Name just one Center in the league that could contain him.

    • sandmansims - Mar 5, 2012 at 3:27 AM

      One center that could contain him?

      Eddy Curry.

      BOOM! /thread

  11. birmy - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    Legendary coach Phil Jackson once said that Kobe scoring 81 points was as good an achievement as any Michael Jordan achievement. That is not an exact quote but I heard him say something to that effect in an interview. So it appears that the 81 point game is equal to Jordan’s 69 point game or his 63 point game according to Phil Jackson. Furthermore, I do think Jordan was a better player than Kobe ever was or ever will be. But I suppose it is possible to not be as good a player as someone else and still have a game so remarkable that it could be considered as good as any game the better player ever played. Finally, I think it is basically impossible to compare achievements in different eras. 40 years ago Kobe would have played great in the NBA but maybe he would not have been as good as he is today because besides the fact he wasn’t born yet, he would not have competed against as many talented players back then and this would not have allowed him to have as much personal growth. Not as much weight training back then means Kobe would have been a rail in the NBA… etc… :)

  12. jollyjoker2 - Mar 3, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    I think shaq could have made a 100 if you dumped it into him everytime and let him bulldoze. I am not keen on the 100 point thing, Give 1 play every shot in the game and I think that you would see a 100 again, but not sure thats a good way. I think when wilt hit 50 early in the game, the guys said,…hey lets just dump it into him against the small center.

  13. jttesq - Mar 4, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Wilt played at a time in which he was not allowed to drop his shoulder like Shaq. If he had been allowed to drop the shoulder he may have averaged 60!! There was no circle in the paint in which there was not an offensive foul. Wilt was a great all around athlete and was an unparalleled combination of speed, strength and agility as he also excelled in track and field. (Long Jump, High Jump, 440 yard dash, shot put.) Wilt had 100 points 25 rebounds and 2 assists, Kobe 81 points 6 rebounds and 2 assists. I say Wilt

  14. The Prophet - Mar 8, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    Kobe’s points came in the flow of the game — the Lakers were on a two-game losing streak and were down 14 at the half to the lowly Toronto Raptors. The Lakers needed Kobe to step up and carry them, they needed him to take over and he did.
    I think this contradicts your idea that Kobe was more impressive than Wilt. There was no urgency for Wilt to score 100, he was just on a plane far above mortal men. If his team’s back was against the wall and on a 2 game losing streak and down 14, Wilt probably would’ve scored 150! Don’t get me wrong, I think Kobe is awesome and I hope he gets his 6th or 7th ring, but Wilt’s performance that night is unparalleled in sports, period.

  15. jbthedon - Mar 9, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    Stop Hating on Kobe. For a 6’6′ guard to get 81 points in a game where the game is much faster and played above the rim is impressive. All due respect to Wilt my fellow Philadelphian but he was playing against guys that he was 6 to 7 inches taller then. Kobe’s game might not be better but it’s atleast equal.

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