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 Wednesday, October 13
Wilt: 'I maybe could have scored 140'
Associated Press

 In 1987, on the 25th anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game, Bill Barnard of The Associated Press wrote the following story on his milestone.

Wilt Chamberlain was humble.

"I couldn't have come close without my teammates' help because the Knicks didn't want me to make 100."

He was contemptuous.

"They were willing to do anything to stop me."

And he was supremely arrogant.

"Scoring 100 points is a lot, but ... I maybe could have scored 140 if they had played straight-up basketball."

Once the Goliath of basketball, Chamberlain may be an enigma as a man, but, as a player, he was one of the greatest ever to wear an NBA uniform.

His record of 100 points in one game for the Philadelphia Warriors on March 2, 1962, in Hershey, Pa., against the New York Knicks may stand forever.

When discussing the subject, the 7-foot-1 Chamberlain gives much of the credit to his teammates, who rallied to his support as the Knicks held the ball, swarmed around him defensively and committed repeated fouls to try to stop him.

The Warriors won the game 169-147.

"It was a challenge to my teammates to help me," Chamberlain said in a telephone interview on the 25th anniversary of his remarkable game. "Once we were far ahead, the Knicks disregarded trying to win the game and concentrated on stopping me.

"If they hadn't just tried to stop me without regard to whether they would win or not, I could have scored a lot more."

Chamberlain said two or three Knicks told him later that they were ordered to play defense that way by their coach, Eddie Donovan.

"It just wasn't right the way they were behind by 25 points and then they're told to hold the ball," Chamberlain said. "They must have considered it a stigma to let me score 100."

According to Donovan, however, the fouling worked both ways.

"They would foul us and we would foul them," Donovan said. "The game became a farce, but you try to keep anyone from scoring the best you can."

Chamberlain said that what his teammates did for him during the game "was way beyond the call of duty. They were so clever finding ways to get me the ball. They had to do more than just give up open shots. They had to avoid fouls and pass me the ball in traffic."

Although he was disgusted with the Knicks' play in general, Chamberlain said 6-foot-10 New York center Darrall Imhoff should not be labeled as "the man who let me score 100 points."

"He played me as well as anyone," Chamberlain said. "He fouled out in the fourth quarter, and that's when I really started getting points. He was no more at fault than anyone."

While unflagging in praise of his teammates, there is a side of Chamberlain that shrugs off the feat as not particularly significant for someone like him.

"As outstanding as it may seem, it's really a normal thing that I did it," he said. "You have to remember that I averaged 50 points a game that year. Players that average 16 or 17 points usually have at least one game during a season when they score 35. That's just what I did; I doubled my average."

He bristles at suggestions that scoring 100 points in a game might be called the ultimate selfish act by a basketball player.

"Lots of people look at scoring as selfish," Chamberlain said. "When you go out there and do the things you're supposed to do, people view you as selfish.

"They don't look at you that way if you're O.J. Simpson or Eric Dickerson or Walter Payton and you're trying to get as many yards as you can every time you touch the football. But when you're a scorer in basketball, you can get labeled a gunner or a selfish player."

Chamberlain realizes that although he is more proud of averaging 50 points for an entire season, he is more remembered for 100 points in a single game.

"I get constant reminders from fans who equate that game and my career as one and the same," he said. "People don't talk about the 50-point average, the 69-13 Lakers championship team I played for. They talk about the night I scored 100.

"That's my tag, whether I like it or not."

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