(KMTR) -- 50 years after Wilt Chamberlain set one of the greatest records in sports history, scoring 100 points in a professional basketball game, a Eugene
man is reflecting on the game and the role he got to play in, playing against Chamberlain.
Darrall Imhoff now lives in Eugene, but 50 years ago, he was one of the New York Knickerbockers who were trying to Wilt Chamberlain on his record 100 point run.
In 2012, Wilt’s 100 point game stands alone as an unbeaten record. The only person who has come close is Kobe Bryant, who scored 81 points for the Los Angeles Lakers in a 2006 game against the Toronto Raptors.
So how did Wilt do it? On the court that night guarding Wilt for about 20 minutes of the game was Darrall Imhoff.
Imhoff has lived in Eugene for 16 years now. He says while Wilt was great, he remembers that 100-point game a little differently than most.
The game was played to a crowd of just 4,124 people at Hershey Sports Arena in Hershey, Pennsylvania. There were no TV cameras and only a few sports writers. Not very many pictures even exist from the game… but a radio broadcast of the last 10 minutes does exist.
For some, the game was unbelievable with fans rushing the court after Wilt scored his 100th point.
But for others who were there, things were a little different.
“I guess that you can call it that,” says Darrall Imhoff in response to NewsSource 16’s Chris McKee saying, “it’s a remarkable thing to be a part of.”
Imhoff describes the game a little differently than most.
“The game, if I was to describe it.. I would call it a farce,” says Imhoff.
March 2nd, 1962, Imhoff was there as his New York Knickerbockers played Wilt Chamberlain’s Philadelphia Warriors in the fateful 100 point game.
“They left him in the game and they intentionally fouled us in the backcourt to stop the clock, to feed him,” says Imhoff.
For Darrall, the game was unmatched.
“They were pouring it on,” says Imhoff.
The Knicks starting center was out sick. And standing 6 foot 10 inches tall, Imhoff was benched early in the game after getting in to foul trouble with four early fouls.
“We had nobody to guard him except a 6'8 forward name Cleveland Buckner who weighed about 190 pounds and Wilt moved him from one end of the floor to the other,” says Imhoff.
The arena was a frenzy as well, adding a certain pandemonium to the basketball game.
“Everytime he scored another point the public address announcer would say 'HE JUST SET ANOTHER RECORD!’,” says Imhoff.
What brought smiles to fans and Wilt, brought anger to the Knicks.
“We were very angry,” says Imhoff.
“Once he hit the record, there was no point of leaving him in the game except to pour it on a team that was undermanned and that's what they did,” says Imhoff.
But Darrall knows he may have no one to blame but himself.
“I think I set the tone, and I never should have done it,” says Imhoff.
“When I got my third foul in the first ten minutes, I turned to the lead official, his name Willie Smith, and I said, 'why don't you give him 100 points and we'll all go home?' I think Wilt heard that, I never should have said that,” chuckles Imhoff.
No matter that Darrall may be on the wrong side of an infamous record, he still has a lot of respect for Wilt 50 years later.
“Wilt was a very special guy, I mean, he was the greatest athlete I think that's ever lived,” says Imhoff.
“One of the most strongest man that's ever played this game,” says Imhoff.
Two nights after Wilt scored 100 on Darrall’s Knickerbockers, Darrall actually got a standing ovation to his home crowd in New York. There, he held Wilt to just 58 points. Darrall says Wilt was trying to go for another 100.