Friday is the 50th anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain’s record 100-point game.
The basketball star was playing for the Philadelphia Warriors in Hershey, Pa., against the New York Knicks when he set an NBA record that has yet to be broken.
Although there is no known footage of the game, fans have never forgotten what they saw.
Gerald Brownstein of Blue Bell played high school basketball in Philadelphia at the same time as Chamberlain was coming up at Overbrook High School. He played Overbrook, too, before moving to the suburbs as a teenager. Even in high school, Chamberlain was legendary, Brownstein says.
“Nobody in West Philadelphia was surprised when he scored 100 points in Hershey. Nobody was surprised in Philadelphia,” said Brownstein. “They were surprised around the rest of the country. We weren’t surprised in Philadelphia. He was the first big man that was an athlete. Until then, the big men were klutzes. Wilt was an athlete.”
About a year ago, Brownstein was browsing in the King of Prussia Mall with his teenage son when he snapped up a book called “It All Began With Wilt,” whose author was hawking it in the mall atrium.
That author, Cecil Mosenson, was Chamberlain’s high school coach. At age 22, he was hired to coach Overbrook’s team. He later went on to be principal of Tredyffrin-Easttown Junior High School, which became recognized by President Ronald Regan as one of the best schools in country.
“Everything I did that was successful, the door was open because I coached Wilt,” said Mosenson. “Then I had to prove I was worth being hired. But the door was open because I coached Wilt.”
Chamberlain’s 100-point game literally changed professional basketball. His dominance of the game– including the ability to jump from the foul line to dunk the ball — spurred the NBA to change its rules.