Tip-Off Timer: 67 Belongs To Wilt
Scoring 100 points in an NBA game was such a phenomenal feat that it may never be matched. Yet that century mark isn't what defined Wilt Chamberlain as the greatest scoring machine in NBA history.
A lot of people can do things once.
Kobe Bryant scored 81. David Thompson had 73. Elgin Baylor and David Robinson each managed 71. Michael Jordan hit 69 and Pete Maravich scored 68.
The magic number is 67.
Why? Because Chamberlain reached it four times in a three-season span, along with games of 78, 73 (twice), 72, and 70 points, all again in that same three-year period (1960-'63).
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored more points in a career (38,387) than anyone else. Jordan holds that distinction for playoff basketball (5,987), yet there can be no question who the king of scoring in the NBA really is.
Of the top 21 single-game scoring performances in NBA history, Chamberlain has 15 of them, another sign of his unbelievable consistency. The other six were listed above. No one else is on the list more than once.
If the Tip-Off Timer had started at 100, Chamberlain surely would have been the kick-off topic, but since it didn't start there, 67 was the obvious choice for Wilt.
People can talk all they want about Kobe and LeBron and Dwight Howard and Dwyane Wade, and how entertaining they are today, how unstoppable they can be, but they are children compared to Chamberlain and the way he dominated games offensively.
Not only does he have the four highest-scoring seasons in history – averaging 50.4, 44.8, 38.4 and 37.6 ppg – but he scored 50 points or more in seven consecutive games during that '61-62 season. He had 118 games in his career in which he scored 50 points or more. Michael Jordan, second by comparison, did it only 31 times.
Chamberlain's numbers always have been mind-boggling. It's part of the Chamberlain legend. Yet the favorite is 67.