It’s incredibly hard to put Wilt Chamberlain‘s success into perspective.
At the time, he was an anomaly, a 2020s player born 60 years too early. He was a supremely skilled big man who could shoot, score, rebound, and pass, and at one point or another, led the NBA in each of those categories over a season span. Chamberlain was an All-Star 13 times, an All-NBA member 10 times, a seven-time scoring champ, an 11-time rebounding champ, and to my knowledge, is the only player in Association history to average 48.5 minutes of action a night over a full season despite there only being 48 minutes in any given game.
When you look at Chamberlain’s accolades, which also included a Rookie of the Year win, four MVPs, two All-Defense appearances, and a slew more accomplishments that I’ll spare you for the sake of brevity – read them all here – it all feels so fantastical. Surely there couldn’t have been a player who accomplished all of that in an era when players would smoke cigarettes in the locker room and sometimes mop the floors after games.
Well, it’s true, and no stat is more amazing than Wilt the Stilt’s signature NBA moment, the 100 point game. While there have been more than a few incredible performances sprinkled across NBA history, from Kobe Bryant‘s 81 point game to the game where Klay Thompson made 14 3s in a game, and most recently Nik Stauskas scoring 57 in a game for the Grand Rapids Gold – I kid but read about that here – but no player had scored into triple-digits in any game before March 2nd, 1962 and no player has since. But how much do you know about Wilt’s signature game? Because there are more than a few misconceptions about the game that occasionally get brought up by fans who look at Chamberlain like Benny the Jet looked at Babe Ruth. Here are three fun facts about the game that you can flex in your next conversation about one of the best Philadelphia athletes of all time.
1. Wilt Chamberlain didn’t score 100 points for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Did you know once upon a time, the City of Brotherly Love housed two professional teams, the Philadelphia Warriors, who were christened in 1946, and the Philadelphia 76ers, who were initially known as the Syracuse Nationals before moving to the Keystone state in 1963.
Why, you may ask, is this relevant to this particular conversation? Well, because Wilt Chamberlain actually turned in his 100 point game not as a member of the Sixers, but as a Warrior. Initially drafted into the NBA from Kansas as a territorial selection – which was meant to keep local products in their home market regardless of said team’s record – Chamberlain played the first five and a half seasons of his professional career for the Warriors and was ultimately traded back to his hometown on All-Star weekend for a package of Paul Neumann, Connie Dierking, Lee Shaffer, and $150,000 after the Warriors moved to San Francisco in 1962.
While that trade will obviously go down as one of the better moves in Sixers franchise history, as James Harden had to give up his 13 jersey for a reason, the Phila embroidered across Chamberlain’s chest in the famous 100 picture will forever stand for the Warriors, not the Sixers, who technically didn’t exist yet.