It has been said that records are set just to be broken. Some records last decades before they are eclipsed, others merely days. For example, it is just a matter of time until someone (likely Steph Curry) breaks the NBA record of 12 three-pointers in a single game, or until a quarterback in the pass-frenzy NFL surpasses 5,477 passing yards in a season. Other records, as you will see below, simply will never be broken. The following is a list of five records in sports that will transcend time itself.
41 Technical Fouls in a Season
This is a mark set by former Blazers big man Rasheed Wallace and is a humorous one at that. In theory, if any player truly wanted to tie Wallace in the record books for accumulating the most technical fouls in a season (the record is now impossible to break, as explained below), they could, but in the process they would dampen their bank account and likely sabotage their NBA career. Wallace was called for 41 technical fouls during the 2000-2001 NBA season. To put this feat in perspective, the second most technical fouls of all time in a single season is 23 held by Antoine Walker. Yes, that is the same Antoine Walker that made over $100 million in his NBA career prior to declaring bankruptcy. The real reason this rule will never be broken is because in 2006, the NBA instituted a rule that suspends a player, without pay, for every technical he receives past his 16th. It is possible to receive exactly 41 technical fouls, even factoring in the suspensions that would be levied, but it would be highly unlikely, as a player would need to be called for a technical foul in every single game that he played in that season. I feel quite confident in asserting that there will never be another player called for 41 technical fouls in a single season.
Averaging 50.4 Points Per Game for a Season in the NBA
This feat was accomplished by none other than the great Wilt Chamberlain. Chamberlain holds a bevy of records that will likely never be broken, such as scoring 100 points in a single game (although now with the three-point shot, it shouldn’t be completely ruled out that someone could have a career night and hit the century mark) as well as averaging 22.9 rebounds per game for a career. Chamberlain’s mark of scoring 50.4 points per game during the 1961-1962 season (not to mention his 26 rebounds per game that year) is a mark that will stand for eternity. Despite the three-point shot now at a player’s disposal, which didn’t exist back in the ’60s, scoring 50 in a single game happens so infrequently that to average 50 for an entire season is simply unfathomable. There is one major reason for this: during the 1961-1962 season, teams averaged nearly 108 field goal attempts per game, whereas in 2015-2016, they averaged only 84 field goals per game. Now, there are far fewer possessions per game than back in the early 1960s. In layman’s terms, players today have significantly less shot attempts, so they do not have the same number of opportunities to score as Chamberlain had. The three-point line does not compensate for this discrepancy. Chamberlain’s 50.4 points per game will stand alone forever in basketball lore.
A Hit Streak in the MLB of 56 Games
This record was set by Joe DiMaggio in 1941 and has not been bested since. The closest anyone has come to surpassing 56 was Pete Rose in 1978 with a hit streak of 44 games. Baseball, more so than any other sport, is a game predicated on numbers, and this number might be the most sacred. Nowadays, if a player has a hit streak that reaches double-digits, it is considered noteworthy. The thing is, if you added a hit streak of double-digits, 10, to Rose and his hit streak of 44 games, it would still not add up to DiMaggio’s streak of 56. It is remarkable. Another factor to consider is the element of the intentional walk in baseball today. Back in the old days, prior to all of the sports analytics, it was considered sacrilegious to just grant someone first base. Nowadays, it happens about once a game, either when a team is facing an unfavorable matchup or when a hot hitter is at the plate in a significant situation. If a player was even in the vicinity of a 56-game hit streak, I think it would be safe to say that he is on a tear and thus would be more likely to be intentionally walked. DiMaggio’s streak of getting a hit has lasted a lifetime and will likely last many more.
2,632 Consecutive Games Played
This record is held by Cal Ripken Jr. who played 2,632 games from 1982 through 1998. That is a 16-year span without missing a single game. Obviously, this is only possible in baseball given the sheer number of games played each year (162). Nowadays, players are frequently given rest days. In 2015, Manny Machado was the only player in Major League Baseball to play in all 162 games, while, during the three seasons prior to that, only four players managed to appear in all 162 games in total. Players cannot last a full season without at least some rest days, let alone every game over the course of 16 years. What Cal Ripken Jr. did was incredible, and he has rightfully earned himself the nickname “The Iron Man.”
Winning 8 Consecutive Championships
This is the only team award on this list, but it is a record in sports that will simply never be surpassed. Take it to the bank. From 1959-1966, the Boston Celtics won the NBA title every season. They did not repeat, or “three-peat,” but “eight-peated.” This will never happen again in the history of sports. It really doesn’t need much explanation. What the Boston Celtics were able to accomplish with Bill Russell leading the charge boggles the mind. To paint a full picture of this team’s dominance, know that the Celtics won the title in 1957, did not win in 1958, won eight in a row from 1959-1966, won nothing in 1967, and then won back-to-back titles in 1968 and 1969. No team will ever have the level of success that the Boston Celtics enjoyed in the late ’50s and throughout the ’60s.