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Kobe Bryant made NBA history last night, scoring 81 points in a 122 to 104 win over the struggling Toronto Raptors. Not since March 2, 1962 has the NBA seen so many points scored by a single player. On that faithful March day in Hershey, Pennsylvania Wilt Chamberlain wowed an audience of a meir four thousand people, as he scored the record for most points in an NBA game with 100.
Bryant’s 81 points come a month and two days after he scored 62 against Dallas, including 36 in the third quarter. Bryant has been on a scoring rampage all season long, he had a streak of five 40 plus games, and has been average 45 points a game, since his two game banishment earlier this month. Bryant’s scoring rampage has reminded a lot of people of the scoring rampage in which Wilt Chamberlain embarked upon during the 1961-62 season. A season which saw Chamberlain average more than 50 points a game, and score an NBA record 100 points.
Many people consider Bryant’s performance as “selfish, or egotistical” when they compare his game to that of Chamberlains. But that is not the case; when Bryant began his tear, the Lakers trailed the Raptors by nearly 20 points. Bryant also shot well above 50%, going 26 for 48. The rest of Bryant’s team went 14 for 42, for a shoot percentage of just 33%. Bryant’s 26 for 48 was good for 54%. Or in lame men terms, the rest of the Lakers made just 1 out of ever 3 shots they took, Bryant made 1 out of every 2 he took. In Chamberlains 100 point game, the big dipper went 36 for 63 from the field, or 57%. Chamberlains 57% isn’t that dissimilar from Bryant’s 54%. The biggest offensive difference between the two games, is that Chamberlain attempted, 32 free throws to Bryant’s 20. Bryant made 18 out of his 20(90%), while Chamberlain made 28 out of his 32(87%).
Comparing Bryant’s 81 point game to Wilts 100 point game may be hard to do, since Chamberlain played in the paint, he didn’t have a three-point line, and he was also expected to rebound its safe to say that Chamberlain had a harder job then Bryant. But at the same time, one could use the argument that Bryant’s 81 is a greater feat, because he played against superior talent, and Bryant had to earn a lot of his points from a further distance.
However upon closer inspection, you notice that Bryant had many lay-ups and dunks. If you where to use a mathematical formula, these “easy-points” would erase each other. Upon doing this, you realize that no matter the age in which the feat was accomplished, the feat in none-the-less spectacular.
In my opinion, the performance given by Wilt Chamberlain is the greater performance of the two. I base this on the fact that Chamberlain’s performance was over an entire game, from start to finish. Bryant’s however was a last ditch desperate attempted to prevent his team from getting blown out. Had Bryant missed a few of his early shots, chances are his spectacular event in NBA history would have never taken place. Chamberlain, though was expected to deliver a big performance, and did. Both games were out of reach for their opponents when both mean accomplished their feats, and both probably did a bit of stat padding towards the end. But this doesn’t discredit either performence.
Both these games are things myths and legends are built upon. This is what makes me, and tens of millions of other people fans, I have to give my sincerest thanks to Kobe Bryant for putting on such a spectacular show. A show that I was able to witness, I only wish I could have witness Chamberlains game. But none the less, I’m glad to be a fan of the NBA
Bran C Faurschou