March 2, 2012 by staff
Wilt Chamberlain, Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors holds a sign reading “100″ in the dressing room in Hershey after he scored 100 points as the Warriors defeated the New York Knickerbockers 169-147,on March 2, 1962.
Think of the great singular sports moments in our lifetimes, from Christian Laettner’s turnaround to the Miracle on Ice to the Thrilla in Manila to Secretariat’s Belmont to Roger Maris’ 61st homer to Don Larsen’s perfect game.
Each one of them was hailed at the moment they happened by everyone from fans to reporters to participants as if they knew they had just witnessed something very special.
They were achieved in major venues under the klieg of major media attention. And though, for instance, Mike Eruzione’s goal that felled the Soviets in 1980 was not seen on live TV, it did come in the Olympic Games and was immortalized that night in tape delay by ABC and later that week by a Sports Illustrated cover that the editors knew needed no print to explain it.
But the people who straggled into Hersheypark Arena on March 2, 1962, barely half filling it, are the only ones who ever saw arguably the greatest achievement in the history of the sport of basketball.
It not only wasn’t on TV, it wasn’t played on a real home court and was not documented by any video. The only surviving electronic record is audio of the fourth quarter of Bill Campbell’s call on WCAU, recorded when someone back at the station in Philadelphia gave a heads-up that something special just might be happening.
The game between the Philadelphia Warriors and the New York Knickerbockers was attended almost exclusively by the curious looking for something to do on a cold late-winter evening. They did not imagine they would see anything that would be memorialized.
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