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NBA Opening Night Records: A Look at the Highest Scoring Players in History

The NBA’s opening night has always been a stage for basketball legends to shine and showcase their skills. Over the years, numerous players have left an indelible mark on this prestigious occasion, scoring remarkable points that have etched their names in the league’s history. In this article, we’ll take a trip down memory lane and revisit the most memorable performances by players on NBA opening night.

Most Points Scored on NBA Opening Night

  1. Wilt Chamberlain – 56 Points (October 23, 1962)

Wilt Chamberlain, a basketball icon, kicked off the 1962-63 season with an incredible performance for the San Francisco Warriors (now Golden State Warriors) against the Detroit Pistons. Chamberlain scored a staggering 56 points in 48 minutes, showcasing his dominance in the paint. He converted 65.7% of his field goals and went 10 of 17 from the free-throw line, setting a standard for opening night performances that would be hard to beat.

  1. Michael Jordan – 54 Points (November 3, 1989)

In 1989, Michael Jordan, widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, wowed fans once again as he dropped 54 points for the Chicago Bulls against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Jordan’s performance included 6 rebounds, 3 steals, and 1 block. His shooting percentages were astonishing, with a 61.3% field goal rate and an 88.2% free-throw percentage.

  1. Elgin Baylor – 52 Points (October 18, 1959)

Elgin Baylor made a significant impact on the opening night of the 1959-60 NBA season while playing for the Minneapolis Lakers (now Los Angeles Lakers). Baylor’s 52-point outing against the Detroit Pistons showcased his scoring prowess. He shot an impressive 61.1% from the field and 66.7% from the free-throw line, leaving fans in awe.

  1. Kyrie Irving – 50 Points (October 23, 2019)

Kyrie Irving’s debut for the Brooklyn Nets in 2019 was nothing short of spectacular. He dropped 50 points, including 7 assists and 8 rebounds, against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Irving’s versatility and scoring ability were on full display, making him a force to be reckoned with on opening night.

  1. Anthony Davis – 50 Points (October 26, 2016)

In 2016, Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans had an exceptional opening night performance against the Denver Nuggets. Davis scored 50 points while contributing significantly on the defensive end with 5 blocks and 4 steals. His 94.1% free-throw shooting was particularly impressive.

  1. Michael Jordan – 50 Points (November 1, 1986)

Jordan makes a second appearance on this list with another remarkable opening night performance. This time, he scored 50 points against the New York Knicks. Jordan’s scoring ability, combined with his defensive prowess, made him one of the most memorable players in NBA history.

  1. Wilt Chamberlain – 48 Points (October 19, 1961)

Wilt Chamberlain’s second appearance on this list showcases his consistency as a dominant force in the NBA. Chamberlain scored 48 points while playing for the Philadelphia Warriors against the Los Angeles Lakers. His ability to dominate both ends of the court left a lasting impact on the league.

NBA opening night has witnessed some unforgettable performances from basketball legends. Players like Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Elgin Baylor, Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis, and others have left an indelible mark with their scoring prowess and all-around excellence. These performances serve as a testament to the skill and passion that define the game of basketball, making opening night a special occasion for fans around the world.

Listicled Staff
Listicled Staff
Listicled staff covers everything from sports to entertainment, politics to parenting, and everything in-between.

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