1961–62 NBA season
|1961–62 NBA season|
|League||National Basketball Association|
October 19, 1961 – March 14, 1962|
March 16–April 5, 1962 (Playoffs)
April 7–18, 1962 (Finals)
|Number of games||80|
|Number of teams||9|
|Top draft pick||Walt Bellamy|
|Picked by||Chicago Packers|
|Season MVP||Bill Russell (Boston)|
|Top scorer||Wilt Chamberlain (Philadelphia)|
|Eastern champions||Boston Celtics|
|Eastern runners-up||Philadelphia Warriors|
|Western champions||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Western runners-up||Detroit Pistons|
|Runners-up||Los Angeles Lakers|
The 1961–62 NBA season was the 16th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Boston Celtics winning their 4th straight NBA Championship, beating the Los Angeles Lakers 4 games to 3 in the NBA Finals.
- The Chicago Packers entered the league, bringing the number of teams to nine.
- The NBA schedule was expanded for the third consecutive season. This time it went from 79 games per team, to 80.
- The Philadelphia Warriors played their final season before their transcontinental relocation to San Francisco for the following season. The NBA would return to Philadelphia in 1963.
- The 1962 NBA All-Star Game was played in St. Louis, Missouri, with the West beating the East 150-130. Local favorite Bob Pettit wins the game's MVP award.
- In a game played in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Wilt Chamberlain made history by scoring 100 points in the Philadelphia Warriors 169–147 win over the New York Knicks. It still stands as one of the greatest individual feats in sports history. Chamberlain would go on to average 50.4 points per game that season, another record.
- This year witnessed the first occurrence of a player averaging a triple-double throughout an entire season when Oscar Robertson averaged 30.8 points, 11.4 assists, and 12.5 rebounds per game.
- This was the last season of the NBA on NBC; the network would regain NBA coverage starting in the 1990–91 season.
|Team||1960–61 coach||1961–62 coach|
|New York Knicks||Carl Braun||Eddie Donovan|
|Philadelphia Warriors||Neil Johnston||Frank McGuire|
|Team||Outgoing coach||Incoming coach|
|St. Louis Hawks||Paul Seymour||Andrew Levane|
|New York Knicks||29||51||.363||31||19–15||2–23||8–13||11–25|
|x-Los Angeles Lakers||54||26||.675||–||26–5||18–13||10–8||33–13|
|St. Louis Hawks||29||51||.363||25||19–16||7–27||3–8||16–30|
x – clinched playoff spot
|Points||Wilt Chamberlain||Philadelphia Warriors||4,029|
|Rebounds||Wilt Chamberlain||Philadelphia Warriors||2,052|
|Assists||Oscar Robertson||Cincinnati Royals||899|
|FG%||Walt Bellamy||Chicago Packers||.519|
|FT%||Dolph Schayes||Syracuse Nationals||.899|
Note: Prior to the 1969–70 season, league leaders in points, rebounds, and assists were determined by totals rather than averages.
- Most Valuable Player: Bill Russell, Boston Celtics
- Rookie of the Year: Walt Bellamy, Chicago Packers
A Season for the Ages
The 1961–62 season is notable for having some of the most impressive individual season statistics ever. A number of records were set this season, some of which still stand to this day. Below is a table showcasing some of the most significant individual per game statistics of the season.
|Elgin Baylor||Los Angeles||44||44.4||38.3||18.6||4.6|
|Bob Pettit||St Louis||78||42.1||31.1||18.7||3.7|
|Jerry West||Los Angeles||75||41.2||30.8||7.9||5.4|
|Richie Guerin||New York||78||42.9||29.5||6.4||6.9|
|Cliff Hagan||St Louis||77||36.2||22.9||8.2||4.8|
|Willie Nauls||New York||75||39.7||25.0||11.6||2.6|
- 1961–62 NBA Season Summary basketball-reference.com. Retrieved March 30, 2010.
- Robertson, Oscar (December 24, 2011), "N.B.A. Should Honor Its History and Learn From It", The New York Times
- "2014–15 NBA Leaders | Basketball-Reference.com". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2016-04-02.
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