NBRPA Celebrates Golden Anniversary of Wilt’s Milestone Performance

February 14, 2012

Wilt Chamberlain -- aka the "Big Dipper" -- rewrote the NBA record book in his playing days of 1959 to 1973, retiring with more than 31,000 points, nearly 24,000 rebounds, four NBA MVP Awards and two NBA Championships. His most-remembered accomplishment, however, came in a single game played in Hershey, Pennsylvania 50 years ago in 1962.

Chamberlain set the NBA's single-game scoring record for the Philadelphia Warriors in a 169–147 win over the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962, at Hershey Sports Arena. Chamberlain set five other league records that game, including most free throws made. That season, Chamberlain averaged a record 50.4 points per game, and he had broken the NBA single-game scoring record of 71 points earlier in the season with 78 points.

The NBRPA honored Chamberlain's single-game century mark at All-Star Weekend in Orlando on Feb. 24, 2012. As part of its Hardwood Pioneers Reflect Roundtable event with notable former NBA stars like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Julius Erving on hand, the NBRPA presented Chamberlains nephews -- Olin and Oliver Chamberlain, who call their late relative "Uncle Dip" -- with an iconic piece of art from that amazing on-court performance a half-century ago.

"Uncle Dippy’s 100 point game has been the poster of his legacy and I don’t think that mark will ever be broken in the NBA," said Olin Chamberlain, nephew of Wilt Chamberlain. "Sometimes people overlook the fact the he averaged 50 points that season amongst many other great stats. Thank you to the NBRPA for honoring him during the 50 year anniversary."

In addition to recognizing the Chamberlain family, the NBRPA reached out to Wilt's teammate from the 1962 Warriors, Joe Ruklick. We taped our conversation with Ruklick and shared a pair of his most interesting sound bytes.

Joe Ruklick on Wilt Chamberlain's strength and character

Joe Ruklick on the atmosphere in Hershey on March 2, 1962

NBRPA CEO Arnie D. Fielkow said the celebration of Chamberlain's 100-point outing was only appropriate for the only Association comprised of NBA, ABA and Harlem Globetrotters alumni. Chamberlain, of course, was not only a former NBA player, but also a former Globetrotter.

"The late Wilt Chamberlain embodied the NBRPA's membership," Fielkow said. "On the court, Wilt was larger than life as a famous Gloebtrotter and NBA champion. Off the court, he had success in life after basketball and served as a wonderful example to our members: Life is just beginning once a playing career is over."