The NBA turned 75 years old this year, which means the league has a rich history up to date. Over the years, the league has sustained records that have been broken by the new and newer generations. When this happens, it calls for a time of celebration, but that is not always the case. After all, some records have remained to date back to the early going of the league’s development.
Some NBA records are going to last for eternity. You have some records like the lowest scoring game (19-18 in 1950) that just are never going to be broken given the makeshift of the league today. There are many other NBA records engraved in the Basketball Hall of Fame that will also never leave their post.
Let’s take a look at 15 records that we believe are considered unbreakable. These records have been organized from realistic to unrealistically being broken.
15. 15,806 Career Assists - John Stockton (1984-2003)
Stockton holds the record for the most career assists in the NBA, as well as the record for all-time steals (3,264). He has about 3,700 career assists between him and Jason Kidd. The closest to reaching Stockton is Chris Paul, who has 10,436 career assists. Paul recently signed a four-year contract extension that will see him play in the league until he is 41 years old, but even so, that will be a hard feat to catch.
Stockton led the league in assists and steals for nine straight years. Compared to back then, the NBA offenses are led a little differently. The team doesn't count on just one playmaker. There could be at least three players distributing the ball on a single team now. If one player dominated the ball like the 90s, someone would have a chance to catch him.
14. Scoring 30 Points in 65 Straight Games - Wilt Chamberlain (1961-1962)
It’s possible that we could see a player perform a stretch of dominance like this, but there’s a reason we haven’t seen it done since 1962. James Harden scored 30 points in 17 consecutive games, which put him narrowly past Kobe Bryant’s streak once upon a time. Even so, that is still a 48-game difference between the two.
To put it into perspective, a regular season is 82 games long. That would require the streak to continue without failure at all in the midway part of the season. That’s incredibly tough to do. With today’s offense as potent as it’s ever been, maybe we will see a top scorer try and match one day.
13. Shooting 98.1% From The Free Throw Line - Jose Calderon (2008-2009)
Before this season, Calvin Murphy’s free-throw percentage of 95.81% stood for 28 years. Calderon broke this year with an insane jump in production. Entering the season, Calderon was an 85% free throw shooter. In the season, he made 151 of 154 free throws to set the new record.
The following year, Calderon came back down to Earth as his percentage dropped to 79.8%. His career free throw percentage doesn’t even rank in the top-20 all-time. It just goes to show that you can have one special season out of the blue.
12. Dishing Out 30 Assists In A Game - Scott Skiles (1990)
Before Penny Hardway, the Magic had a solid guard in Scott Skiles, who managed to dish out 30 assists in a game. The record was previously held by Kevin Porter for 12 years. The Magic scored a franchise-high 155 points in a win over the Denver Nuggets. Skills added 22 points in one of the greatest double-doubles in NBA history.
His 30 assists were two more than all the other players had in the game. Both Denver and the other Magic players had 28 assists, 14 coming from each side. The closest we have seen from a player in the modern era was Rajon Rondo recording 25 assists against the Brooklyn Nets in 2017 as a member of the New Orleans Pelicans.
11. Averaging 5.6 Blocks Per Season - Mark Eaton (1984-1985)
During this season, Eaton had a spectacular season for the Utah Jazz. Eaton blocked 456 shots that season while playing just 34.2 minutes per game. If you adjusted his blocks to 36 minutes, which was a common standard back in the 80s, he would have accumulated 478.6 blocks.
The record was thought to be broken the following year with Manute Bol recording a 4.96 average. It’s been a long time since a player has come remotely close to this record. The closest we have seen in the modern era was from Hassan Whiteside in 2015-2016 when he averaged 3.68 blocks per game.
10. Scoring 100 Points In A Game - Wilt Chamberlain (1962)
Chamberlain finished his 100-point game on 36-of-63 shooting, good for 57.1% from the field. That also included 28-of-32 from the free throw line, good for 87.5%. Chamberlain was known for scoring, but this record has remained untouched for almost 60 years.
There have been some exciting times though. On January 22, 2006, Kobe Bryant scored 81 points. On March 24, 2017, Devin Booker scored 70 points, which was the most points we had seen from an active player since Bryant’s attempt. This record is going to be tough to break, even with the plethora of offensive talent in the league these days.
9. Scoring 23,334 Career Points Without A Made 3-Pointer - Robert Parish (1976-1997)
To be fair, the three-point shot didn’t exist until 1979-1980. At the time, this was a new element to the game that was not utilized efficiently until today’s modern era. Parish was not a three-point shooter, but who knows? Maybe, he could have developed an outside shot, but at the time it was not a focal point of an individual’s development.
Parish, a center, holds the margin of scoring a high quantity of points without attempting a three-pointer. Parish will hold this record for a while. To put things into perspective, Tyson Chandler was 14,000 career points behind Parish. With centers expected to shoot threes, the modern-day game will allow Parish to keep this record forever.
8. Winning 11 Championships As A Player - Bill Russell (1957, 1959-1966, 1968-1969)
There is always that one player that stands above the rest. Tom Brady leads all NFL players with six Super Bowl rings, while Yogi Berra leads all MLB players with 10 world series rings. In the NBA, that title goes to Bill Russell, who has 11 rings in his 13 seasons. During the 1950s and 1960s, nobody was as good as Russell.
Russell helped the Boston Celtics surge to the top, where they remain tied with the Lakers for most championships in league history. Eleven of the team’s 17 titles came with Russell on the team. That includes seven straight from 1959 to 1966. We have seen three-peats from Michael Jordan and Shaq and Kobe Bryant, but nothing on this level.
7. Receiving 41 Technical Fouls In A Season - Rasheed Wallace (2000-2001)
A regular season is 82 games, so that means that once out of two nights, Wallace recorded a technical foul. This season, Wallace played in just 77 games. Wallace is also the all-time NBA career leader in technical fouls with 304. In a span of receiving 41 technical fouls, the year before he set the original record with 38 in a season.
In the later years, the NBA changed the rules to reduce player technical fouls. When a player records his 16th technical foul, it results in a one-game suspension. For every two technical fouls after that, the player’s suspension increases by one game. That would mean that a player would need to likely average two technical fouls, which results in an ejection, after recording 16 technical fouls in the first 16 games.
6. Scoring 50 Points In A Game 118 Times - Wilt Chamberlain
Chamberlain recorded 50 points in a game 118 times in his career. The second-most is Michael Jordan with 31. Given that the great MJ couldn’t come close to this record, it’s easy to see that this record is never going to be touched despite some of the great scorers in the league such as Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and James Harden still playing.
Chamberlain recorded 45 of these games during the 1961-1962 season. He averaged 50.4 points per game this year. No other player has averaged 40.0 points per game. The most modern moment came in 2018-2019 when Harden averaged 36.1 points per game in his MVP season.
5. Averaging 48.5 Minutes Per Game - Wilt Chamberlain (1961-1962)
A typical NBA game is 48 minutes, which means that Chamberlain played in every minute plus overtime during the 1961-1962 season. Outside of eight minutes he missed after being ejected, Chamberlain played in 99.8% of the team’s minutes. Without Chamberlain, the Philadelphia Warriors might not have been competitive.
Chamberlain will hold this record forever because of “load management.” There are multiple stars on teams these days with a bench that can stretch to eight or nine players deep. Chamberlain holds the top seven spots in minutes per game. The only player to average more than 40 minutes per game since was Monta Ellis (40.3) in 2010-2011.
4. 88 Games Played In A Season - Walt Bellamy (1968-1969)
During the 1968-1969 season, Hall of Famer Walt Bellamy played in 88 contests. Because of a midseason trade, that allowed him to play that total. He started the season playing in each of the 35 games for the New York Knicks. Then, he was traded to the Detroit Pistons, who had played 29 games when he joined. The difference of six games allowed him to get to 88 games.
The rules for trades allowed players to play right away once they landed with a new team. Now, players have to pass their physical before they can suit up with their new team. This can cause delays and missed games. Even so, a player playing 82 games is sometimes a hard feat on its own.
3. 7 Personal Fouls In A Game - Cal Bowdler (1999)
This record likely cost the scorekeeper’s job. In Bowdler’s fifth career NBA game, he recorded the impossible seventh personal foul. A player is supposed to foul out after six, but the scorekeeper miscounted the number of fouls. It wasn’t until after the game was over that he noticed Bowdler picked up his sixth foul but kept playing until he fouled out with his seventh.
What’s even more “impressive” is that Bowdler logged two minutes with his sixth before picking up his seventh. He recorded no stats at the time. The former No. 17 overall pick in 1999 played in the NBA until 2005.
2. Playing 1,192 Consecutive Games In A Row - A.C. Green (1985-2001)
In today’s modern era, superstars are going to test rest days. It angered the league once upon a time, and it might still now, but “load management” is now a popular term used in today’s NBA language. Nobody told this to Green back in the day. A.C. Green missed three games in his second season in the league and then played 1,192 consecutive games.
Joe Ingles played 384 straight games before an Achillies injury snapped his streak. Given that was the longest active streak as of 2021, it’s easy to say that this record will never be broken. With rest for physical and mental health being heavily talked about, Green will always be the Ironman of basketball.
1. Averaging 50.4 Points Per Game In A Season - Wilt Chamberlain (1961-1962)
This year, Chamberlain scored a record 4,029 single-season points. It’s the only time that a player has ever scored over 4,000 points in a regular season. Chamberlain set the second-best record the following season with 3,586 in 1962-1963. Michael Jordan joined Chamberlain as the only player to ever score over 3,000 points in a season in 1986-1987 when he scored the third-best mark with 3,041 points.
Chamberlain owns four of the top ten spots, while Jordan has two spots. Kobe Bryant scored 2,832 points in a season in 2005-2006, which ranks seventh. The closest active player is Harden, who scored 2,818 points during the 2018-2019 season.