Anthony Davis set an All-Star game record with 52 points — 10 more than Wilt Chamberlain’s All-Star mark that had stood for 55 years — and was named the game’s MVP in his home arena.
Anytime a record of Wilt’s falls, it is important to look at the context, whether it reflects well or badly on the Stilt (usually good).
First of all, I am happy for Anthony Davis. The kid comes out of nowhere as a high school senior where his only offer was Cleveland State before ending up the number 1 recruit in the country and subsequent #1 draft choice. Then he ends up in an organization trying to find itself that has in retrospect executed some of the worst trades in recent memory (not quite as bad as SAC, ORL, or a few others) despite having an all-world player to build around. He ends up getting perhaps the most talented player, though we can’t be sure yet, the same day he wins ASG MVP in his home city.
Let’s look at the performance though. Davis score a record 52 points on a record 39 shots in a 192-182 (combined record for points in any NBA game surpassing the 186-184 nuggets win in the 80s) all-star spectacle. Wilt’s record of 42 points held for 55 years though it was challenged several times. But Wilt’s 42 points came on 17 of 23 shooting (8-16 FT). Perhaps the Dipper could have hit a few more from the stripe, but that is incredible efficiency along with 24 rebounds.
On the other hand, The East lost 150-130 and Wilt was not even the rebound leader in the game as arguably most underrated NBA player of all-time Bob Pettit grabbed 27, while 6-11 Walt Bellamy added 17 even though his job was to just get in the way of Goliath. The West also got so many caroms because the Celtics stars Cousy, Heinsohn, Sam Jones, and Russell combined to shoot 14 of 44. That wasn’t even the worst on the team, Hal Greer 3 of 14 and Paul Arizin 2 of 12 were also bricking everything. In fact Wilt and Richie Guerin hit more field goals than the rest of the team combined (27 to 26) on only 30.7% of the shot attempts!
So for those who criticize Wilt for taking too many shots, here’s an example where he could have taken more as the opponent dared his teammates to shoot. His team lost though which is why I’ll entertain a comparison between AD and Wilt for greatest ASG performance of all-time, even though I’ll still err on the side of the Dipper.