In the annals of NBA history, Wilt Chamberlin literally and figuratively towers over the competition. As even the most casual basketball fan can tell you, the legendary Los Angeles Lakers big man could score, rebound, and block shots with incredible ease. Even today, almost 50 years after he retired, Wilt still dominates the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
While Chamberlain’s 100-point game may steal most of the headlines, he didn’t simply explode for one single, impressive outing. Looking at the NBA’s all-time single-game scoring list reveals the true extent of the center’s offensive prowess.
Wilt Chamberlain’s legendary NBA career
Growing up, Wilt Chamberlain actually preferred track and field to basketball. Eventually, though, his height led him to the hardwood; once there, he became a force of nature.
By the time he reached high school, Chamberlain was already dominating the Philadelphia basketball scene. After graduation, he took his talents to the University of Kansas; while he couldn’t claim a national title, he averaged an incredible 29.9 points and 18.3 rebounds per game during two seasons with the Jayhawks.
Wilt then spent a season with the Harlem Globetrotters before joining the NBA’s Philadelphia Warriors in 1959. While the big man changed teams a few times—he also suited up for the Philadephia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers—his game transcended any individual team. During his 13 professional seasons, Wilt averaged 30.1 points and 22.9 rebounds per game for his career; he also claimed two championships, four MVP awards, and countless other honors before calling it a career.
A larger than life figure, even beyond basketball
Due to his size and raw numbers, Wilt Chamberlain towered over the NBA landscape. His star status, however, wasn’t limited to the world of basketball.
According to Hank Stram’s book, the football coach once tried to bring Chamberlain to the Kansas City Chiefs as a wide receiver. While his physical prowess would have made him an unstoppable red zone threat, the big man wasn’t able to leave basketball behind to hit the gridiron.
That didn’t limit Wilt’s legendary status, though. He ran marathons and lifted weights with incredible ease; he was supposed to box Muhammad Ali, but the bout never took place. He also claimed to have slept with 20,000 women, adding another larger than life detail to his legacy.
Wilt Chamberlain dominates the NBA’s all-time scoring list
For most modern basketball fans, Wilt Chamberlain is nothing more than a name in the history book. While it’s been almost 50 years since the Big Dipper’s last NBA game, he’s still a fixture on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
In terms of all-time points, Chamberlain sits seventh on the list with 31,419. When you break things down to a per-game basis, though, Wilt is closer to the top. Michael Jordan leads the way with 30.12 points per outing; the Big Dipper stands tall in second place with 30.07 points per game.
When you look at the single-game scoring list, though, Chamberlain looks even more impressive. His legendary 100-point game still leads the way, but his scoring prowess wasn’t limited to that one performance. The center also occupies third place on the list with 78 points; he also scored 73 points on two occasions and broke the 60-point plateau on more than 20 other occasions.
While those numbers may be a bit hard to digest in written form, you can head over to Basketball-Reference and check out their list of single-game scoring leaders. When you see the sheer number of times that Wilt Chamberlain made the cut, you’ll understand his place on the NBA all-time scoring list.