Fifty-one years ago today, Philadelphia Warriors superstar Wilt Chamberlain unleashed a scoring explosion unlike anything the NBA had ever seen—even if it came frighteningly close to going unseen at the time.
Only 4,124 people traveled to the Hershey Sports Arena in Hershey, Pa., to take in an otherwise meaningless late-season game between Chamberlain's Warriors and the New York Knicks (via Donald Hunt of ESPN.com). No television footage exists of the game, only a few photographs and a couple minutes of the radio broadcast.
The big man didn't only demoralize the Knicks defenders that night, he obliterated the record books. His 59 second-half points were (and still are) the most points ever scored in a half. His 36 made field goals and 63 field-goal attempts are both NBA records as well.
While he endured his share of struggles at the free-throw line throughout his career, something clicked that night. His 28 made free throws are tied for an NBA record, and he needed just 32 attempts to hit that mark.
Fifty-one years later, the game still holds its magical luster. Maybe even more so because of its near-mythical presence on the basketball landscape.
So in a ceremonious tone, we look back at the most spectacular scoring displays in league history. Here are the 10 best attempts at matching Chamberlain's dominance since the 1985-86 season.
*Full box scores were only available from that season, as older ones failed to record stats like minutes played, field-goal attempts, etc. So there won't be any further mention of David Thompson's 73-point game in 1978, Elgin Baylor's 71 in 1960, Pete Maravich's 68 in 1977 or any of Chamberlain's other 32 60-plus-point games.