Friday, February 14, 2014
Chamberlain Breaks NBA Scoring Record
On Feb. 14, 1966, Wilt Chamberlain breaks NBA career scoring record at 20,884 points, which was previously held by Bob Petit, who played on the Milwaukee and St. Louis Hawks. Chamberlain’s record breaking score came on the way to earning his second MVP award during his first full season on the Philadelphia 76ers.
During the 1965-1966 season Chamberlain averaged 33.5 points and 24.6 rebounds a game, leading the league in both categories. The totals were his sixth highest scoring season of his career as well his third highest rebounding season.
Chamberlain would go on to finish his career with 31,419 points, as he led the NBA in scoring seven times, field goal percentage nine times, minutes played eight times, rebounding eleven times, and assists once.
Despite being such a great scorer, Chamberlain's main weakness was his notoriously poor free throw shooting, where he has the third lowest career free throw percentage in NBA history with 51.1% (based on a minimum of 1,200 attempts). Chamberlain claimed that he intentionally missed free throws so a teammate could get the rebound and score two points instead of one, but later acknowledged that he was a "psycho case" in this matter.
He committed surprisingly few fouls during his NBA career, despite the rugged play in the post. Chamberlain never fouled out of a regular season or playoff game in his 14-year NBA career. His career average was only 2 fouls per game, despite having averaged 45.8 minutes per game over his career. He had 5 seasons where he committed less than 2 fouls per game, with a career low of 1.5 fouls during the 1962 season, in which he also averaged 50.4 points per game. His fouls per 36 minutes (a stat used to compare players that average vastly different minutes) was a remarkable 1.6 per game.
Chamberlain was also responsible for several rule changes, including widening the lane from 12 to 16 feet, as well as changes to rules regarding inbounding the ball and shooting free throws.
Chamberlain is most remembered however for his 100-point game, which is widely considered the greatest basketball record of all-time. He is also only one of two basketball players, the other being Michael Jordan to have averaged at least 30 points per game over their entire career, but Chamberlain is the only player to average over 50 points a game for an entire season.
For his feats, Chamberlain was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978, named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, ranked no. 2 in SLAM Magazine's Top 50 NBA Players of All-Time and no. 13 in the ESPN list "Top North American athletes of the century" and voted the second best center of All-Time by ESPN behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on March 6, 2007.
Chamberlain’s record would hold up for over 15 years until Kareem Abdul-Jabar would break his record. After Abdul-Jabar broke Chamberlain’s record, Karl Malone and Michael Jordan have also surpassed his numbers, out ranking Chamberlain to fourth as they are second and third respectively behind Abdul-Jabar who is still the NBA’s All-Time leading scorer with 38,387 points.