Tom Thibodeau had the perfect reaction when he learned that Wilt Chamberlain once almost averaged 50 minutes per game. The legendary center could do everything on the floor, dominating both ends of the ball, becoming one of the greatest legends to set foot on an NBA court.
He was willing to stay on the court as much as possible, recording incredible performances during his career. On Wednesday night, the Philadelphia 76ers celebrated the Wilt Chamberlain Night for the 60th anniversary of his record-setting 100-point game. Curiously, they played against the same team that Wilt terrorized that game, the New York Knicks.
After the game was over, Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau talked about that match and what it meant to the NBA. While Rivers recalled that he himself had an 82-point game once, Thibodeau praised the late Chamberlain and everything he did on the court.
"Did Doc play in that game? It’s funny you mention that. God rest his soul, Harvey Pollack, I worked here, he was a great historian and he talked about that game all the time. It’s pretty amazing. That’s one record I don’t see ever being broken. It’s incredible.
"It’s pretty remarkable. You think about the things that he did, what he averaged for a season, the minutes he played, the rebounding. They didn’t keep all the stats that we do today. If they did I think it would be pretty scary."
Moreover, when he learned that Wilt averaged 48.5 minutes per game in his third season, Thibs joked saying he would have enjoyed coaching a player like Chamberlain.
"That’s my kind of guy," Thibodeau said, laughing.
The Knicks head coach has been criticized for leaving star players on the court more than necessary, even when games are already over. If he had the chance to coach Wilt, they would have been a terrific duo. Philadelphia beat New York, 123-108, giving them the 37th loss of the season. Thibodeau is on the hot seat after a tumultuous season with New York, and nothing points out they will turn things around this campaign.