Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game and Rickey Henderson’s 130 steals are two records in the Professional Sports world that are said to be “unbreakable”. If you are a sports fan, you have heard of those two legendary “unbreakable’s”. There is a record in the NBA, that has stood for 50 years. That you probably only know if you eat, breathe and sleep basketball stats.
All the way back in the 1973-74 NBA season, 24-year old Elmore Smith of the Los Angeles Lakers, put his name in the record books. The 7 foot, 250 pound Center was the #3 overall pick by the Buffalo Bisons in 1970, out of Kentucky State. On Oct. 28, 1974, Smith and the Lakers faced the Portland Trail Blazers. Led by Legendary GM Jack McCloskey (then a Head Coach). The Lakers prevailed, 111-98. At the end of the game, in which Smith played all 48 minutes. There was one thing on his stat-sheet that stood out above the rest. The 17 blocks.
Blocks had just become an official stat at the start of the 1973 season. Barely two weeks in, Smith set the record. And it has stood the test of time, so far. Could someone have had more before him? Of course.There’s a very good chance a player like George Mikan, or Bill Russell either tied Smith or beat his number. But with no concrete evidence of that, Smith’s 17 reigns supreme. Over the past 50 years, many players have come close. Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal and the late Manute Bol have been closest with 15.
Everyone thinks about records mostly to do with scoring. Like Wilt’s 100 point game, or Steph Curry breaking the all-time 3-pointers record. No one really gives much thought to the other stats, especially blocks. It’s not easy to rack up blocks, especially in todays game with a more equal playing field, size and athleticism wise. Which makes me think that this record could really stay unbroken for another 50 years.