March 3, 1962, was the day that Wilt Chamberlain played the game of his life and set a record that may never be broken in the future of the NBA. Chamberlain and his Warriors defeated the Knicks by a score of 169 to 147. Chamberlain, known as the Big Dipper, did not sub out of the game once and he dropped a casual 100 points in the evening. He also snatched 25 rebounds to go along with his 100-point achievement. It does not come as a surprise that he played every second of the game, because that seems like a must for anyone aiming to try and surpass 100 points in today’s game.
There are rumors related to whether or not he was targeting the mark in the specific game. Regardless, you cannot argue with the greatness he displayed as a dominant individual on one of the most historic nights in basketball history. Chamberlain was often known as Wilt the Stilt because he stood at a remarkable 7 feet, 1 inch tall and was a force to be reckoned with on the court.
Some would argue that competition was weaker when he was in his prime than what the competition is like in today’s era. The conditioning it takes to play a full 48 minutes is without question impressive, though. Players in the league today rarely play every minute in games that do not go into overtime. The game has obviously evolved over decades, and now the 3-point shot is arguably the most valued skill in the game. Chamberlain scored his record total without the benefit of a 3-point line, scoring only via 2-point baskets and the free-throw line.
When considering which active players have the best chance to eclipse the record for most points in a singular game, or at least come close to the mark set by Chamberlin, the “Splash Brothers” comes to mind. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are the two most lethal perimeter shooters the league has ever seen and have racked up several records pertaining to the 3-point shot. All NBA players have the ability to get hot, but Thompson being “hot” is something that is must-see TV. Thompson currently holds the record for most points scored in a quarter, a record he set when he dropped 37 points in the third quarter against the Kings back in 2015.
The competition is extremely high today, making it hard for an individual to go ballistic in a single night. But, with how many 3-pointers are being thrown up by teams on a nightly basis, it would not be surprising to see someone come close to Chamberlain’s record over the next few years. The circumstances would have to be perfect, likely meaning the game would have to be close throughout and eventually go to overtime so that the players can maximize their minutes. The concept of “load management” has become a viral process around the league now where teams will limit minutes and the number of games that their best players play to help avoid potential injury. Once Thompson returns from injury, expect him to be on a mission and that mission just might include one for the record books.