Wilt Chamberlain and the 100 Point Game in Hershey Pennsylvania

What is Hershey, Pennsylvania famous for?

 

Hershey, Pennsylvania is a town of approximately 13,000 people.  Despite its small size, this popular tourist destination is home to the Hershey Company, maker of the Hershey Bar and Hershey’s Kisses.  The manufacturing community also boasts Hersheypark and Hersheypark Stadium, owned by the Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company.  The name is stamped indelibly on the town. 

Hershey is known to sports fans for another reason.  It is the place where the Philadelphia Warriors played the New York Knicks on March 2nd, 1962.  On that night, Philadelphia beat the Knicks 169-147.  Wilt Chamberlain scored an NBA record 100 points, a feat unmatched in the history of professional sports.

 

 

Wilt's 100 point game

March 2nd, 1962--the night Wilt scored 100 points
March 2nd, 1962--the night Wilt scored 100 points
Wilt goes up for a rebound
Wilt goes up for a rebound
Shaking hands with fans after the game
Shaking hands with fans after the game
The Big Dipper wore #13
The Big Dipper wore #13

The night Wilt scored 100


No one gave much consideration to the Warriors-Knicks matchup in Hershey on March 2nd, 1962. The Chocolate factory was the city’s big draw. The game was reportedly played in Hershey as part of an arrangement allowing Philadelphia to use their arena as a practice facility, free of charge. Only 4,124 spectators filled the 7,000 seat arena to watch history being made that night. The game was broadcast on the radio, but there was no local or national television coverage.

It is interesting that this game garnered so little attention at the time. Wilt averaged 50 points a night that year, and scored 78 in a game three few months earlier. He scored 60 points or more a record-breaking 17 times that season. The point production of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and now Kevin Durant are daily fodder for ESPN sports pundits. In 1962, however, little mention was made of Wilt’s amazing feat, reporting it as if it were just another game. But this one wasn’t.

Chamberlain scored 100 points by hitting 36 of 63 shots from the field. He also made 28 of his 32 free throws—a remarkable statistic, considering Wilt only made slightly over half his free throw attempts throughout his career. He grabbed 25 rebounds and recorded two assists in the game, as well.

Chamberlain dominated the Knicks from the outset and scored 41 points in the first half. By the fourth quarter, 100 points was clearly within reach. New York didn’t want history made at their expense, however, and used every tactic imaginable to keep the ball from Wilt. The Knicks held the ball on offense and fouled any Philadelphia player except Chamberlain to keep him from scoring. The Warriors fouled back to regain possession. Chamberlain scored his final field goal with 46 seconds left with a dunk off a pass from reserve guard Joe Ruklick. He had achieved the impossible.

Darrall Imhoff started at center against the Warriors that evening. Phil Jordan, the Knicks regular starting center, was ill and did not travel with the team. Imhoff played only 20 minutes that night and laughingly disputed the notion that Wilt scored 100 on him. Imhoff joked, “Wilt had 18 when I left the game in foul trouble and 89 when I came back, so it wasn’t all against me.” It has been reported that when Philadelphia next met the Knicks, Imhoff played the full forty-eight minutes and received a standing ovation for “limiting” Chamberlain to 58 points.



Chamberlain's legacy


The press’ lack of interest exemplifies a unique aspect of how Wilt Chamberlain’s NBA career was perceived. Any modern player with such accomplishments would be deified nightly on ESPN. When Kobe Bryant scored 81 points in 2006, sports analysts debated the significance of his accomplishments for weeks. Even in retrospect, Chamberlain is rarely given his due. Wilt Chamberlain holds or shares 72 NBA all-time records, and many of them will never be touched. No player will match 22.9 rebounds per game for a career, 50.4 points per game for a season, or his single game totals of 100 points and 55 rebounds (accomplished against Boston and the great Bill Russell). It has been reported that Wilt grabbed at least 10 rebounds in every game of his professional career. Wilt Chamberlain won seven scoring and eleven rebounding titles, in addition to leading the league in field goal percentage nine times and assists once. He averaged over 45 minutes per game for his entire career, and never fouled out of a contest. Steals and blocked shots were not tracked during Chamberlain’s career, but it is believed Wilt likely blocked 6-8 blocks per game—a number which would shatter any currently held record.

He was so dominant as an athlete and public figure that his accomplishments tend to be dismissed. “Wilt’s bigger than everyone—why shouldn’t he get all those rebounds?” “Chamberlain scored all those points because the NBA was a smaller league then.” The arguments continue to this day, as if we still feel a need to bring Chamberlain down to our level. There were other players as big and as tall and as fast as Wilt, but no one accomplished what Wilt Chamberlain did. His numbers are so amazing they seem abstract. We somehow forget that Chamberlain had to shoot the ball to score all those points; he had to make good passes to lead the league in assists; he had to go after missed shots to collect all those rebounds. The numbers don’t merely represent NBA records—they are a lifetime spent in chasing excellence. They also embody the countless hours Wilt spent in the gym, training and sculpting his body. They stand for numerous sacrifices, thrilling victories and extreme disappointments as he battled Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for fourteen years.

Wilt often lamented that nobody loves Goliath. More than ten years after his death, it is time to spread some love Wilt’s way. It was suggested in my hometown newspaper that the NBA hold a game at Hershey, Pennsylvania on March 2nd, 2012—fifty years after Wilt’s historic game. Perhaps Philadelphia and New York could play again, wearing retro uniforms. Just for one night, have every Philadelphia player’s number on the front of their jersey, but let them all wear number 13 on the back of their shirt—Wilt’s number. All of them together might even score 100 points (no sure thing in today’s NBA).

That would be a fitting tribute.


Comments 20 comments

Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

What a game! We miss Wilt, he had grace and style and was a terrific athelete.


Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

Ghost Whisper 77 6 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

ghosy comes by...looks around..throws a basketball..misses the hoop...breaks some lady's window out next door...steps in the house to get her check book and proceeds to cross over the lawn to the neighbors door....she aint no Chamberlain!;)


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Paradise7, thanks for your comments. Wilt is indeed truly missed. You are correct, he was a great athlete and it is a shame he didn't play in today's NBA. During Wilt's prime, there was no Sports Center or televised game every night. Compared to today's athletes, almost no one got to see him play.

Well, thanks again, your comments are always appreciated.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Ghosty! I talked to the lady who's window got busted out, and she said you were dunking on people right and left. We know you got game!

Thanks for your comments, you always know how to put a smile on my face!

Mike


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Wilt was tough everywhere but the freethrow line.

Great hub. It's said of Mr. Hershey that he never did any advertising except one day he was walking down a street and saw a Hershey wrapper and turned it over.

Great hub-thanks.


Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

Ghost Whisper 77 6 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

I camped at Hershey PA park and I ate lots and lots of chocolate...who'd a thunk it?


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Micky, thanks for reading. Yup, Wilt was no free throw shooter.... He used to try 'em underhanded for awhile. He also stood back two feet behind the foul line for a time--nothing helped.

Turned the wrapper over, eh? I guess Hershey knew low cost advertising when he saw it. He probably figured that if the whole town and every industry in the town was named Hershey, well--he's got a lot of advertising anyway.

Thanks again for reading.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Ghosty! You like chocolate??????? I didn't know that... :)


Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

Ghost Whisper 77 6 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

You didn't know that I like chocolates??? Geeesh where have you been Mike? Where have you been? I went camping in Hershey Pa, it was beautiful there! I have the best photographs of waterfalls-I may suck at basketball but I can tell ya about waterfalls n chocolates now can't I? lol


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hiya, Ghosty! I do remember your mentioning chocolate at one point--I think I mentioned only having chocolate syrup in the fridge at the time as an offering.

Sounds like Hershey might be a fun place to visit--I never considered the possibilities of waterfalls there. When were you there?

Suck at basketball? That wasn't you dunking on those guys the other day???

Mike


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

wow, 100 points, incredible Chamberlain! I agree it is a very interesting place -- I love hersheys and love to watch basketball, so it is fun to know aboit Chamberlain really, YAY, Maita


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Maita, thanks for reading. Wilt Chamberlain was an amazing player and I wish today's basketball fans could have seen him in his prime.

Basketball and chocolate are both weaknesses of mine, also. When basketball season is over, it will be time to eat candy!

Thanks again for your comments, Maita. Have a good evening.

Mike


rml 6 years ago

I was lucky enough to see Wilt Chamberlain play when he was still a young man. He was so skilled.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

rml, you were lucky! Wilt in his prime was an amazing show!

Thanks for your comments.

Mike


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

I just had to read about Wilt again. Being "so" tall myself, 5' 6, I always pulled for the shortest but Wilt had "game"!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hey, Micky. Wilt did have game, and he had presence, as well. He was 7'1" but I saw him standing next to a KU basketball player who was 7' tall and he seemed so much more imposing. I always found the big guys intriguing. Wilt versus Kareem Abdul-Jabbar always caught my attention.

He could play ball, also. Thanks for reading.

Mike


Godwin Nwando profile image

Godwin Nwando 6 years ago from San Diego

Great story about wilts hundred although I think Kobe's 81 may be more impressive.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Godwin, thanks for reading. Two factors make me still side with Wilt's as the greater performance: the first is that Kobe hit 7 three-point shots, which wasn't part of the game in 1962. If all Kobe's shots were worth two, he would have gone for 74, which would be good for third place behind two Chamberlain games. The other factor is that Kobe could bring the ball upcourt and shoot it--Wilt had to wait for someone to pass him the ball, or go get the offensive rebound. There is no mistaking that his teammates were trying to feed him the ball towards the end of the game, but Kobe could just dribble it up himself and shoot. That's why I still find Wilt's game the more remarkable of the two.

Thanks a lot for reading. I do appreciate your comments.

Mike


Ben Snowden profile image

Ben Snowden 5 years ago from Peoria, IL

I've been on Hubpages less than a week, and I've been looking for quality content to read. I found it! This is a great article about Wilt's great accomplishments.

I've always thought that Wilt would still dominate in today's leauge, even with the inclusion of the 3-second rule and the 24-second shot clock. Just watching footage from his games, you can see that he was WAY ahead of his time.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Thanks for the kind words, Ben. I also believe Wilt would still dominate in today's NBA. It has been said that Chamberlain could never get his stats in today's NBA, but Stan Love currently leads the league in rebounding, averaging approximately 15 boards per game. If Love can do it, Wilt could.

And, you're correct, Wilt was ahead of his time. Watching him in his prime is an amazing spectacle. In my mind, he was truly the greatest player ever.

Mike

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