Just last year, it was inconceivable that anyone could match Oscar Robertson’s feat of averaging a triple double in an NBA season. Now Russell Westbrook has done it. So beware all proclamations of how unbreakable a record might be. But here are eight single-season records that seem the least likely to fall:
Wilt Chamberlain’s 50.4 scoring average in 1961-62
Wilt holds the NBA’s top four season scoring averages. All came in the early 1960s. Outside of Wilt, only 63 times has a player averaged 30 points a year. No other player ever has come within three quarters of Wilt’s mark. Michael Jordan’s 37.1 in 1986-87 is the closest.
Wilt Chamberlain’s 27.2 rebounds per game, 1960-61:
The top 33 individual rebounding seasons came before 1973. Dennis Rodman was a rebounding machine; his best season was 18.66 in 1991-92, which is only two-thirds of the way to Wilt.
Jose Calderon’s .9805 free-throw percentage, 2008-09:
The problem with beating Calderon is, there’s no margin for error. Shoot 200 foul shots, and you have to make 197 to beat Calderon. Calvin Murphy is second on the list, at .9581.
Wilt Chamberlain’s 48.5 minutes per game, 1961-62:
This one is safe. To average more minutes than is played in a regulation game? In the last 39 years, the only player averaging more than 43 minutes a game was Allen Iverson, 43.7 in 2001-02 and 43.1 in 2005-06.
Darryl Dawkins’ 386 personal fouls, 1983-84:
That’s 4.765 fouls per game for Dawkins. USA Today reports that no one has come within 40 fouls of Dawkins’ total since 2000. Fouling is down, and patience for fouling is thin.
Walt Bellamy’s 88 games, 1968-69:
Bellamy played 35 games with the Knicks, then was traded to Detroit, who at the time had played just 29 games. NBA schedules are more balanced now. No team ever has six more games played than another.
Rasheed Wallace’s 41 technical fouls, 2000-01:
The NBA now starts suspending players after 16 technicals. Mathematically, a high-strung player could go well past 41. Realistically, it won’t happen. Players will protect their wallets.
Wilt Chamberlain’s 45 50-point games, 1961-62:
Wilt also had 30 games of at least 50 points in 1962-63. Third on the list is Kobe Bryant, with 10 in 2006-07.