Warriors' Philadelphia legacy: Wilt's 100 points and one iconic photo

ByAshley Fox ESPN logo
Tuesday, August 23, 2016

With the Rams rebooting in Los Angeles, ESPN.com presents a series exploring the remnants departed teams have left behind in the cities they abandoned.

Before hanging a hundred on the New York Knicks, Wilt Chamberlain played pinball in the lobby of the Hershey Sports Arena. No security needed. There was just a 7-foot-1 star pumping coins into a machine for fun.

"He was out there getting some competitive juices out before the game," Ron Pollack said.

Pollack was only 16 years old on that March 2 night in 1962, but thanks to his father Harvey, the public relations director and game statistician for the Philadelphia Warriors, Ron Pollack had a front-row seat to history while he charted play-by-play of the game. He saw all 36 of Chamberlain's made field goals and 28 made free throws. He watched as Chamberlain scored 23 points in the first quarter, had 41 points by halftime, scored another 28 points in the third quarter and then withstood the Knicks' futile attempt at triple-teaming him to keep the indefensible center from scoring 100 points.

In the fourth quarter, after each time Chamberlain scored, arena announcer Dave Zinkoff updated the crowd of 4,124 with Chamberlain's point total. Chamberlain didn't need to be told. He always kept a running count in his head during games.

A career 51.1 percent free throw shooter, Chamberlain made 28 of 32 foul shots that night.

After Chamberlain set the record for points in a game -- an NBA record that still stands and might never be broken -- Ron Pollack ran his father's game stories to Western Union to be transmitted to the Associated Press, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the United Press International. And he grabbed a program from the game -- it advertised game tickets for $2.50 -- and years later had Chamberlain sign it for his son. Chamberlain did, and it remains one of few known mementos from the game.

Another is the picture Harvey Pollack orchestrated. After the game, Pollack stuffed the game ball into Chamberlain's bag and scribbled "100" on a piece of paper. He had Associated Press photographer Paul Vathis take a picture of Chamberlain sitting on a stool holding the paper to commemorate the accomplishment.

"My father just needed an idea," Ron Pollack said. "He wrote '100' on a piece of paper, which we didn't keep, and they took a picture of it. He just had Wilt hold it, and that was it."

After the season, the team was sold and moved to San Francisco, eventually becoming the Golden State Warriors. While Chamberlain left his native Philadelphia -- only to eventually return -- Harvey Pollack never did.

"I don't remember the city being so upset, but we were," Ron Pollack said.

Philadelphia was without professional basketball for only one season. In 1963, two men bought the Syracuse Nationals, moved the team to Philadelphia and renamed it the 76ers.

A Temple alumnus, Harvey Pollack spent his career working for the Warriors and then the 76ers charting statistics. He came up with categories including offensive and defensive rebounds, turnovers, steals, blocked shots and minutes played, coined the term "triple-double" and in 2002 received a lifetime achievement award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Pollack worked for the Sixers until his death, at 93, last June. He was the last remaining original employee of the NBA's inaugural season. While he was known as a statistical savant, Pollack's claim to fame was devising the iconic photo of Chamberlain.

"It was just quick thinking," Ron Pollack said. "He thought the simplest thing was to write the number and have him hold it. That says everything. You don't need a caption. A picture's worth a hundred points."