NBA Records and Achievements: The 10 Records Most Likely to Never Be Broken
Yesterday saw a day in history 49 years ago that became one of the most incredible nights ever witnessed in professional sports—Wilt Chamberlain set a record that will likely never be touched.
On March 2, 1962, Chamberlain became the first and only player in NBA history to score 100 points in a single game when the Philadelphia Warriors defeated the New York Knicks 169-147. In essence, it was a triple-double of sorts, with 100 points and 25 rebounds.
In fact, Chamberlain, who averaged 30.1 points throughout his career, actually holds 14 of the top-20 highest single-scoring games in NBA history.
While this feat is no doubt historic, is it in fact the NBA record that will most likely will never be broken?
There have been some incredible feats that have occurred in the NBA during its 64-year history, both individually and by team. But which record would be considered the most difficult to break?
We will give you a chance to weigh in with your thoughts as we break down the 10 current records in the NBA that are most likely never to be broken.
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10. Most Points Ever Scored in One Quarter: George Gervin, 33
On April 9, 1978, George Gervin of the San Antonio Spurs put together one of the most incredible feats in NBA history when he scored 33 points in the second quarter of a game against the New Orleans Jazz.
Gervin, a.k.a. The Iceman, was considered to be one of the greatest shooting guards in the NBA, finishing his career with a 26.2 per game scoring average.
In the Spurs’ last regular-season game, Gervin completely outdid himself, scoring 33 points against the Jazz in the second quarter.
Ironically, the Spurs lost the game to the Jazz 153-132, but by virtue of his performance, Gervin won the scoring title over David Thompson of the Denver Nuggets by just .07 points per game.
**EDIT** This record was in fact tied by Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets, who scored 33 points in the third quarter of a game in 2008. So, Gervin has the second quarter points record, and Anthony has the third quarter record...
The most points ever scored in the fourth quarter was by Wilt Chamberlain during his 100-point performance back on March 2, 1962.
My thanks to Louis Ifurung for the correction!
9. Highest Single-Season Free-Throw Percentage: Jose Calderon, 98.1
In the 2008-09 season, Toronto Raptors fans didn't exactly have a whole lot to look forward to; however, they were able to see a long-standing record of excellence broken by one of their own.
Guard Jose Calderon of Spain broke the record of excellence at the free-throw line when he made 151-of-154 from the charity stripe for a completion percentage of 98.1 percent.
The record had previously been held by diminutive guard Calvin Murphy of the Houston Rockets, who hit 95.8 percent of his free-throws in the 1980-'81 season.
Note: This is a correction from an earlier version in which I mistakenly listed Calvin Murphy with the highest single-season free-throw percentage. I thank Bryce Rudd for the correction!
8. Highest Team Average Points Per Game, Season: Denver Nuggets, 126.5
In the 1981-82 NBA season, the Denver Nuggets were known as a run-and-gun team, and run and gun they did. The Nuggets averaged 126.5 points per game, led by three players who averaged over 20 points per game (Alex English, Dan Issel, Kiki Vandeweghe).
Oddly enough, even though the three-point line had been implemented by the NBA three years prior, the Nuggets were not known as long-distance shooters at all, relying more on a great fast break to score the bulk of their points that season.
Their per game scoring average broke the previous record held by the Philadelphia Warriors, who scored 125.4 points per game in 1961-62 with young Wilt Chamberlain leading the way.
Ironically, the Nuggets were also the worst defensive team in the NBA that season, giving up 126.0 points per game.
7. Most Seasons Leading the League in Scoring: Michael Jordan, 10
When Michael Jordan was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1984, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird had already established themselves as the poster children for the NBA. By the time Jordan was done, he not only replaced Johnson and Bird in that role; he became one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history.
Starting in the 1986-87 season, Jordan won 10 consecutive scoring championships during the years in which he played full seasons (Jordan took almost two years off for his failed baseball experiment), scoring a remarkable 37.1 points per game in 1986-’87.
Jordan ended his career in 2003 after a second return to the NBA with the Washington Wizards, with a lifetime 30.1 points per game scoring average.
6. Most Games Played in a Career: Robert Parish, 1,611
When Robert Parish started his career with the Golden State Warriors after being selected as the eighth pick overall in the 1976 NBA Draft, he spent four relatively obscure seasons with the Warriors, continuing to get better with each season.
In September of 1980, the Boston Celtics made the steal of a lifetime when they traded Rickey Brown and Joe Barry Carroll to the Warriors for Parish and Golden State’s 1980 first-round draft pick, who just happened to be Kevin McHale.
Parish would spend the next 14 seasons in Shamrock green, winning three NBA titles with the Celtics along with the legendary Larry Bird and the aforementioned McHale.
Parish finally ended his career in 1997 with the Chicago Bulls after 21 seasons and 1,611 games played, both NBA records.
Only three players in NBA history have played in more than 1,500 games during their career: Parish (1,611), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,560) and John Stockton (1,504).
5. Highest Average Minutes Per Game, Career: Wilt Chamberlain, 45.8
During the legendary 14-year career of Wilt Chamberlain, the man literally never rested. Wilt the Stilt averaged an incredible 45.8 minutes per game, meaning that he rested for just over two minutes per game.
In the 1961-62 season, Chamberlain averaged 48.5 minutes per game, meaning he not only played every minute of every game; he also surpassed that with overtime minutes!
Even at the advanced age of 36, Chamberlain averaged 43.2 minutes per game during his last season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
4. Career Scoring and Rebound Per Game Average over 20 Each: Wilt Chamberlain
Now the records in the NBA start to reach the stratospheric range.
For his entire career, Wilt Chamberlain averaged 30.1 points per game and 22.9 rebounds per game. While there have been players that have averaged 20 and 10 respectively, no one even comes close to this incredible statistic.
The great Bill Russell averaged 22.5 rebounds per game over his career, but never even averaged 20 points per game in a season, let alone for a career. However, Russell played on a team in the Boston Celtics that preached team basketball, and Russell was never the only option.
Still, Chamberlain’s career numbers will probably never be touched.
3. Most Consecutive Games Played: A.C. Green, 1,192
When the Los Angeles Lakers selected A.C. Green with the 23rd overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft, little did they know they would select a player who would become known for durability.
On Nov. 19, 1986, Green was in the lineup for the Lakers in a game at San Antonio against the Spurs. Green played in every single game for the next 14 years, finally ending his streak on April 18, 2001, a steak lasting 1,192 games.
Green surpassed the previous NBA high of 906 games, set by Randy Smith in 1996. For his entire career, Green missed three games in the beginning of the 1986-87 season.
2. Single Season Points Per Game Average: Wilt Chamberlain, 50.4
When Wilt Chamberlain was drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors in 1959 out of the University of Kansas, team management wanted someone who would match up well with the Boston Celtics’ legendary center, Bill Russell.
While the Warriors were never able to get past the Celtics during Chamberlain’s tenure, Philadelphia fans were treated to one of the most incredible seasons in basketball history.
During the 1961-62 season, Chamberlain shattered records with his incredible ability to put the ball in the hoop. For the season, Chamberlain averaged 50.4 points per game, shattering the record he set in his rookie season of 1960-61, when he averaged 38.4 points per game.
Ironically, the same season, Elgin Baylor of the Los Angeles Lakers averaged 38.3 points per game, which would have become the NBA record had Chamberlain never played!
1. Most Points Scored in One Single Game: Wilt Chamberlain, 100
During the magical season in which he averaged 50.4 points per game, Wilt Chamberlain did something that was considered at the time one of the most incredible feats seen in all of professional sports.
On March 2, 1962, Chamberlain became the first and only player in NBA history to score 100 points in a game during the Philadelphia Warriors’ victory over the New York Knicks.
By the time this game rolled around, Chamberlain was already shattering records. He had already scored over 60 points in 15 different games, and earlier in the season had scored 78 points in a game, breaking the record set by the Lakers’ Elgin Baylor.
On this night, Chamberlain absolutely shredded the Knicks’ defense, making 36-of-63 field goal attempts and 28-of-32 free-throw attempts.
Not only did he shatter the single-game scoring record, Chamberlain set records in the same game for most field goals attempted (63), most field goals made (36) and free throws made (28), a record tied by Adrian Dantley.
The second-highest total points scored in one game is Kobe Bryant, with 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in 2006.