Every world record is extraordinary. A clear indication of an elite sportsman at the very peak of their professional powers, records are, of course, made to be broken. The records on our list, however, have stood the test of time, and we’re pretty confident they aren’t going to be topped any time soon.
1. Wilt Chamberlain – The 100 Point Game
Only Kobe Bryant has come remotely close to Wilt Chamberlain’s astonishing record of 100 points in a single game, but his 81 points against the Toronto Raptors is still a long way away from Wilt Chamberlain’s haul. Chamberlain’s record is all the more remarkable when you consider that the three-point line had not yet been introduced to the NBA when Chamberlain scored 100 against the New York Knicks in 1962. Every now and then, though, players will drop 50 in a game during an NBA season; Devin Booker even racked up a remarkable 70 points in a loss against the Boston Celtics recently, but it seems that Chamberlain’s record is simply unbreakable.
2. Boston Celtics – 8 Consecutive NBA Championships
In today’s ultra-competitive NBA, winning a championship is a gruelling feat; winning two titles back-to-back is enough to have us talking about a team in the wider context of “best ever”. The Boston Celtics, though, hold the record for the most consecutive NBA titles – a remarkable eight championships in a row. The legendary Celtics team won a barely-believable eight straight rings between 1959 and 1966. Bill Russell was the star of the show, while Red Auerbach was the coach – and the Russel Auerbach partnership proved to be a match made in heaven.
3. Michael Phelps – 23 Olympic Gold Medals
The legendary swimmer is the most decorated Olympian of all time – and it’s not even close. To put Phelps’ 23 gold medal haul into perspective, his closest challenger on the leaderboard is the Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina, who is on nine gold medals. Phelps retired after last year’s Rio Olympic games having won another five gold medals and a silver to add to his immense collection. His total medal tally now stands at 28, which is also unrivalled in the world of Olympic sport.
4. Brett Favre – 297 Consecutive NFL Starts
A veritable iron man who simply did not miss games, Brett Favre amassed a frankly ridiculous 297 consecutive starts in the NFL – 321 if you include the playoffs – between 1992 and 2010. In a league where injury is common and physicality is high, Favre’s achievement is highly unlikely to be eclipsed any time soon; the closest active player is Eli Manning, and he is still a long way off the record.
5. Wayne Gretzky – 2857 NHL Career Points
The Great One is without doubt the finest NHL player to ever lace them up, and the record books hold compelling evidence to back up Wayne Gretzky’s claim – when Gretzky retired in 1999, the Canadian held a preposterous 61 NHL records. Perhaps the most impressive of those, though, is his career points total, which stands at a seemingly untouchable 2,857. No one has even come close to touching Gretzky’s record; Mark Messier is in second place with 1,887, almost 1, 000 back from The Great One’s total. If any player has designs on re-writing the history books, they will need to post an average of 140 points a season over a 20-year period to better Wayne Gretzky’s tally.
6. Joe DiMaggio – 56 Game Hit Streak
One of baseball’s most famous sons, New York Yankees’ Joe DiMaggio is in possession of one of baseball’s most astonishing records. In the 1941 season, DiMaggio rewrote history when he got at least one base hit in 56 consecutive appearances. Pete Rose has been the only player to come anywhere near DiMaggio’s record, when he notched together a sequence of 44 games in 1978. 76 years after the record was set, it looks like enduring for a while longer yet.
7. John Stockton – 15,806 NBA Career Assists
John Stockton is the quintessential point guard – running the pick and roll with the help of his all-star team mate Karl Malone to devastating success over the course of his illustrious NBA career. Stockton holds the record for most career assists in NBA history with 15,806 – a tally which many believe will never again be matched. Stockton also owns the record for the most steals in history with 3,265. Although he never managed to secure an NBA championship, losing twice to the Chicago Bulls in 1997 and 1998, Stockton will go down in history as one of the all-time NBA greats.
8. Arsenal’s “Invincibles”: 49 Premier League Games Unbeaten
It is no secret that Arsenal FC have struggled of late to replicate the imperious form that saw Arsene Wenger’s early tenure in North London revolutionise Premier League football in England. Since those heady days of yore, there has been a lot of soul-searching and hand-wringing for Arsenal fans. We should not, however, forget the amazing achievements of Wenger’s early Arsenal teams. In the 2003/2004 season, Wenger’s men did the unprecendented – going an entire season without losing a single game. They even continued that unbeaten streak into the following season before going down in acrimonious circumstances. Some highly questionable refereeing contributed to an ill-tempered contest and a 2-0 defeat to bitter rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Should any of the achievements on this list be eclipsed, we will be treated to feats of hitherto unprecedented sporting greatness, the likes of which we might never see again. Let’s hope that we get to see some of these records bettered one day, but until that time comes – if it ever does – the memories of these sporting records will live long in the minds of sporting fans across the world.