As of today, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant has scored 30 or more points in 11 straight games. He is the first player since Tracy McGrady in 2003 to have such a streak. While Durant may be able to make a run at the ‘modern era’ record of 16 games, held by the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, the humble superstar has a long way to go to reach the NBA record held by Wilt Chamberlain of 65 consecutive 30-point games. Let’s gain some perspective…
While I am certainly not a Chamberlain worshiper, his numbers during a stretch of time in the early 1960’s speak for themselves. Chamberlain’s record streak was set during his historic 1961-62 season. Keep in mind two important things about WHEN these numbers were accomplished: 1.) Chamberlain didn’t often play against players his own size (7’1, 275). Even the great Bill Russell was only 6’10; and 2.) This was before all of the modern rules changes that Durant and today’s big-time scorers benefit from. You know, the ones that eliminated hand-checking, virtually ending any chance of seeing real defense being played in the regular season? — Durant cannot help the rules any more than Chamberlain could help that most team’s centers were 6’8.
In the process of setting this monumental record Wilt Chamberlain played in 80 of his teams’ 82 games and he AVERAGED 50.4 points per game. He AVERAGED shooting 10 for 17 from the foul line EVERY night. This means that teams were doing anything they could to try and stop him; and he still shot over 50% from the field AND averaged 25.6 rebounds per game. These numbers speak volumes against the argument about his competition, in fact they prove that he brought his best every night. This was likely the most dominant scoring performance that we will ever see. And as far as that 65-game streak? Chamberlain also holds the next two longest streaks with 31 in 1962 and 25 in 1960.
We love watching Kevin Durant too, but let’s not get carried away with any historical comparisons. For a stretch of nearly two years, Chamberlain achieved a level of dominance that is not likely to ever be equaled.