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Today in NBA History: April 5

This is the first installment in a series that will look back on important events in the history of the association. Today’s memories include career numbers from Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, as well as the emergence of the first Chinese basketball player (no, it wasn’t Yao).

On April 5th, 1967, Chamberlain set the record for most rebounds in a playoff game, grabbing a ridiculous 41 boards in a 115-104 victory over the Boston Celtics. The 7-1 center holds 72 NBA records from his 15-year career, and is arguably the most dominant force to ever play the game. The absurd numbers Chamberlain achieved throughout his career are unheard of today, averaging 30.1 points and 22.9 rebounds over his career. Kevin Love and Dwight Howard have had great years, but neither compare to the statistical anomaly from Pennsylvania.

On April 5th, 1984 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar surpassed Chamberlain as the all-time scoring leader, hitting his signature sky-hook to surpass the previous record of 31,419 points. The 7-2 center would eventually finish with 38,387 points in his illustrious career, still sitting atop the record books today. Abdul-Jabbar played 20 seasons in the NBA, averaging 24.6 points and 11.2 rebounds. His record will be extremely difficult to beat because of the length of his career. The closest active player is Kobe Bryant, who trails Abdul-Jabbar by nearly 10,000 points.

On April 5th, 2001 Wang Zhizhi became the first Chinese player to play in an NBA game, scoring six points and three rebounds for the Dallas Mavericks. Zhizhi was drafted by Dallas in the 2nd round of the 1999 NBA Draft. The 7-foot center never panned out in the NBA, averaging 4.4 points and 1.3 rebounds. over a seven-year span that included stints with the Mavericks, Clippers and Heat. Zhizhi now plays for the Bayi Rockets, and still represents China in the olympic team.

Thanks to Harlemglobetrotters.com for the picture.