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Mystery behind a missing basketball

Game ball from Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game is shrouded in mystery

On April 27, 2019, SCP Auctions sold the official scoresheet from Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game for $214,579. The hand-written stats, compiled by Philadelphia Warriors official scorer Toby DeLuca, was autographed by Chamberlain.

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On October 6, 2000, Lelands auctioned a basketball from that historic game for $67,791. The ball had been owned by Kerry Ryman, who was a 14-year-old spectator at that March 2, 1962 game in the Hershey (Pa.) Sports Arena. Ryman said he swiped the ball shortly after he and other spectators rushed onto the court to celebrate Chamberlain’s feat. The auction house originally sold the artifact to an anonymous bidder for $551,844 in the spring of 2000 but nullified the purchase after questions arose whether the ball actually was used for the historic basket or merely another ball subbed in after Chamberlain hit triple digits. Lelands conceded that the balls might have been switched without Ryman noticing, but if that were the case, the ball he took would still be considered a “game ball” and be valuable memorabilia.

Long-time Philadelphia public relations man Harvey Pollack claimed he was given the authentic record-setting ball by referee Willie Smith, and another ball was used for the game’s final 46 seconds. Ryman and nine eye witnesses claimed otherwise.

Pollack, who died in 2015, said the record-setting ball was signed by Wilt and his teammates, and later displayed at the team’s offices before disappearing.

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