Open Mic: Can These Hoops Records Ever Be Broken?

Matt SmithSenior Analyst IJune 13, 2008

I'm a basketball guy, mainly college but a little NBA thrown in here and there.  Basketball is my passion.  With all of the controversy surrounding the sport recently, it's nice to sit back and reflect on some of the greatest records and streaks in the sport.

Here are my top three most memorable and impressive accomplishments in the sport of basketball.

3. The Lakers' 33-Game Win Streak

The Lakers' 1971-72 season gave us one of the greatest streaks in professional basketball.  Just nine games into the season, Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor retired.

The day after he retired, the Lakers stepped their game up and went on to the longest winning streak in professional sports.  The streak started November 5, 1971 against the Baltimore Bullets and ended on January 9, 1972 against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks.

Of course, people say it was easy to do with future Hall of Famers Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, and Gail Goodrich—but Michael and Scottie didn't do it, Shaq and Kobe didn't do it, and more recently Boston's "Big Three" didn't do it.

Houston took a shot at it this season with a 22-game win streak, but the old Lakers never felt threatened.  Thirty-three is an immortal number and probably won't be reached in our lifetime, no matter how good the team.

2. Wilt Chamberlain's 100 Points

Whether or not you believe the hype that old Wilt the Stilt slept with over 20,000 women, you can believe that he scored the most points by an individual in a single game.

While playing for the Philadelphia Warriors on March 2, 1962, Chamberlain went on his historic point run that still stands today.  Wilt had 23 points in the first quarter, 41 at halftime, and only 69 after the third.

With 1:27 left on the clock, Wilt was still one basket short of the 100-point mark.  He shot, missed, got his own rebound, and missed again.  Luckily, his teammate Ted Luckenbill grabbed the rebound, whipped a pass to Joe Ruklick, and Ruklick fed Wilt who threw down an emphatic dunk to get his 99th and 100th points.

Chamberlain shot 36 for 63 from the field, a record for both field goals made and attempted in a game.  The only player to come close to the record was Kobe's 81 in 2006—and if the greatest player in our era can't get 100, who can?

1. UCLA and the 88-Game Win Streak

Sure, there have been rumors and reports that some of Wooden's players were "bought," but whether or not you believe those reports, the 88-game win streak his UCLA teams choreographed from January 1971 to January 1974 is the greatest basketball streak of all time.

During the streak the Bruins claimed three NCAA titles, and the streak lasted so long that no single player participated in all 88 victories.  The streak began after an 89-82 loss to Notre Dame and was ended by the Irish three years later in a 71-70 defeat.

During the streak, the Bruins' largest margin of victory was a 64-point drubbing of Texas A&M, the fourth largest Bruin victory of all time.  Their highest point total was in a 119-81 victory over Texas Christian.

As the streak continued, people talked about the total reaching into the hundreds, but again Notre Dame and their young coach Digger Phelps would end that task.  On January 18, 1974, Notre Dame took the game 71-70 after being down 11 with 3:30 left.

As the streak ended, college basketball witnessed the greatest win streak of all time—and the greatest basketball achievement in my book.