Unstoppable. Relentless. Unconscious. Lethal. Go ahead and pick your own adjective — they all apply. It’s hard to find a superlative that wouldn’t be appropriate for the most dominant scorer of his generation.
Kobe Bryant, right?
We’re talking about Wilt Chamberlain.
Kobe’s recent scoring binge has been the talk of the NBA for the last week or so, and rightly so. Heading into Sunday’s game with the Warriors, he was averaging more than 56 points per game over his last four, crossing the 50-point barrier each time. He’s been a model of efficiency in that span, connecting on 54 percent of his field goal attempts and 96 percent of his free throws. It’s been a sight to behold, with fans and analysts alike trying to place his achievements in their proper historical context.
Still, speaking historically, all Kobe’s red-hot hand has done for me is to give me a new appreciation for the amazing dominance of Chamberlain.
As noted frequently in recent days, Kobe is the only player other than Wilt to ever crack the 50-point plateau in four straight contests. Chamberlain did it in seven straight.
Two of the games in Kobe’s run were for 60 points or more, putting him in second place on the all-time list with four career games in the 60-plus category. The leader? You already know. But what you may not knowis exactly how big the gap is. For Kobe to ever challenge the Big Dipper for scoring supremacy, he’d have to pour in 60 points an incomprehensible 28 more times.
Chamberlain’s career total of 32 60-plus point games is one of the most untouchable records in all of sports, as is his 50.4 scoring average over the course of the 1961-62 season.
Think about that for a moment. While Kobe’s run of 50-point games has the sports world abuzz, try and imagine him averaging that amount for an entire season! Actually, don’t — you could hurt yourself. Because I truly don’t believe it’s possible for our feeble minds to comprehend an athlete, even one as physically gifted and as motivationally driven as Kobe, scoring 50 points a night each and every time he stepped on a basketball floor for an entire season.
Truth be told, we’ll never even see another NBA scoring champion over 40 points per game. And yes, Wilt had one of those too, delivering 44.8 a night in 1962-63.
Bryant’s amazing run is ironic in a way, as he reminds of the true majesty of Chamberlain. For it is Kobe’s modern-day nemesis, Shaquille O’Neal, who has branded himself the "MDE" of the NBA. In the self-glorifying world of Shaq, he sees himself as the Most Dominant Ever, which is painfully laughable when comparing his accomplishments to those of the Dipper. No one has ever dominated the league the way Chamberlain did in his prime, and now the only one able to evoke even weak comparisons to his offensive production ... is the one player Shaq hates most in the world.
Thank you, Kobe, for your dedication, your talent and the entertainment you provide as you take your game to these new historical levels. And thank you, most importantly, for bringing some of that history back to us and reminding us of the REAL MDE: Wilt Chamberlain.
Sports personality Bob Frantz is a regular contributor to The Examiner. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.