The snubbing of ’61

Wilt the stilt was unstoppable

It was March 2nd, 1961. The Philadelphia Warriors were taking on the New York Knicks in an NBA basketball game. The Warriors won the game comfortably, but that was not the story. The intrigue around the game comes from the fact that Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points for the Warriors that day.

The picture of Wilt holding a piece of paper with ‘100’ on it is now one of the most iconic pictures in the history of sports. He somehow stood taller than his already 7’1″ frame. He was king of the sports world that day. That seemingly unbreakable record made Wilt into a mythical figure. Those who saw him play no how great he was. Those who didn’t have heard the stories.

Wilt was a machine his whole career, but in the 1961-62 season, he was something far more deadly. His stat line looks like a Van Goh painting. Wilt averaged 50.6 points a game, 25.7 rebounds a game and shot over 50 percent from the floor. Oh and he also averaged 48.5 minutes a game (there are only 48 minutes in a regulation NBA game.)

He was a force that left destruction in his wake every time he stepped the floor. He scored 4029 points that year. His Airness is the only player in NBA history that has ever gained more than 3000 points in the year let alone 4000.

His Warriors team was one of the best in the league. He and the Warriors took Boston, who was in the middle of a run that saw them win 11 championships in 13 years, to seven games losing by just two points. He had one of the best seasons in the history of basketball. Here’s the thing though. He didn’t even win MVP that season.

This floored me to my core when I learned this. How can a guy who averaged 50 points a game, 50 freaking points not win MVP? That is absurd. I understand I was not around to watch that NBA season, and I know stats are not everything but there is no arguing this one. If a person averages 50 with 25 rebounds and plays all but eight minutes of the season that man is the MVP.

In football terms, this would be like a quarterback throwing for 70 touchdowns, or a baseball player hitting 90 home runs. It is mind-numbing. There should be a public outcry over this. There should be a petition with millions of signatures to try and get the NBA to give the 1961-62 MVP to its rightful owner Wilt Chamberlain.

As for who won MVP that year, it was Bill Russell. Don’t get me wrong, Russell was the best player on the championship-winning Celtics that year, but Wilt blows Russell out of the water numbers-wise. Wilt averaged 32 more points a game and two more rebounds a game. That gap is too big to ignore.

It’s 2019 and there is still no justice for Wilt. More people need to know about this MVP snub. Tell everyone you can, your mom, dad, sister, brother, neighbor, dog, everyone. Get the movement started. It has been 58 years, but there is no time limit on justice.

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