NBA Christmas Day is arguably the most action-packed day in league's regular season. Every year, top teams featuring superstar players face each other on 25th December in what are highly-anticipated matchups for basketball fans. This year, NBA Christmas Day Games will come just three days after the start of the 2020-21 season, and without a doubt it will be thrilling as usual.
3 Players who have scored 50 or more points in an NBA Christmas Day Game
Performing well in an NBA Christmas Day Game is a nice regular-season accomplishment for some of the greatest players to have played the game. Some historical names have had great outings on NBA Christmas Day. In this article, we will tell you about the only three players who have scored at least 50 points on NBA Christmas Day.
LeBron James has played in 14 NBA Christmas Day Games during his glorious 17-year career, and a team led by him will play on Christmas for the 13th consecutive year. The King has faced the likes of Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Kawhi Leonard on this special day, with an overall record of 9-5.
Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant were also unique players who because of their status were almost always a feature on NBA Christmas Day. Bryant, on his side, holds the record for most appearances on 25th December with 16 games.
However, in this article, our focus will be on one question. Who has scored at least 50 points on NBA Christmas Day Games? So, Let us take a look.
#3 Rick Barry - 50 vs Cincinnati Royals, 1966
NBA Christmas Day Games seem reserved for superstars and Hall of Famers. In only his second year of playing in the NBA, Rick Barry scored 50 points on Christmas against the Cincinnati Royals.
The San Francisco Warriors took the win over the Royals on the back of Barry's performance in his second appearance on NBA Christmas Day.
Rick Barry was a superstar in the ABA and then the NBA. In just 10 seasons, Barry scored 18,395 regular-season points, averaging 23 pointes per game with 7 rebounds and 5 assists. In total, he played in 794 NBA games during his career.
Barry is among the greatest small forwards to have played in the league. He won the NBA Finals MVP in 1975, when he led the Golden State Warriors to their 3rd title.
A basketball Hall-of-Famer, Barry was also known for shooting his free throws backhanded. By the end of his career, he had been named on the All-NBA team 6 times.
#2 Wilt Chamberlain - 59 vs New York Knicks, 1961
If we are talking about any scoring record in NBA history, then Wilt Chamberlain will be on the list, whether at the top or close to it.
On NBA Christmas Day in 1961, Chamberlain faced a team that would be forever linked to him (after his 100-point game): the New York Knicks. In what was only his second NBA Christmas Day appearance, Wilt recorded 59 points and 36 rebounds in an one-point loss for the Philadelphia Warriors against the Knicks.
In his career's first NBA Christmas Day game, a rookie Chamberlain scored 45 points and 34 rebounds against the Syracuse Nationals.
Scoring outbursts were a normal occurrence in Chamberlain's NBA career. The basketball Hall-of-Famer scored 100 points against the New York Knicks just a couple of months after scoring 59 against them in an NBA Christmas Day Game.
In his illustrious 14-year NBA career, Chamberlain led the league in scoring seven times. Additionally, in the same 1961-62 NBA season, he established the single-season record for the highest point-per-game average in history, with 50.4.
#1 Bernard King - 64 vs New Jersey Nets, 1984
Wilt Chamberlain's scoring record from the 1961 NBA Christmas Day stood strong for 23 years until 1984. On 25th December of that year, New York Knicks star Bernard King lit up the New Jersey Nets, in a performance that is regarded among the best in league history.
He scored a career-high 60 points against the New Jersey Nets in the 1984 NBA Christmas Day Game. However, his performance was enough for the Knicks, who suffered a 6-point defeat that day.
His scoring record on Christmas stands to this day. Additionally, King remains the only player in NBA Christmas Day history to reach the 60-point mark.
King played 14 years in the NBA, and his career earned him a place in the Hall-of-Fame. He played for the Nets, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, and the Washington Bullets.
Still, Bernard King will always be remembered as a New York Knick. In that same 1984-85 season, he led the NBA in scoring with an average of 32.9 points per game on a super efficient 53% shooting. In total he made it to four NBA All-Star teams and four All-NBA teams in his career.
His scoring title during the 1984-85 season was the first and only of his career. Moreover, it was King's only season with an average of at least 30 points per game. He averaged 22.5 points per game in his 874 career matches.
Published 21 Dec 2020, 23:56 IST