Friday Five, Vol. 100
We can't believe it, but we hit the century mark! 100 Friday Fives later, and we are still going strong. This week, in honor of our milestone, we looked back at other major accomplishments around the number 100. There are anniversaries, athletic achievements, and feats of longevity in the world of entertainment that all involve reaching triple-digits. So sit back, finish digesting yesterday's feast, and get inspired by these big-time accomplishments.
Wilt Chamberlain Scores 100
This is one of, if not the, most unbreakable records in the history of the NBA. So how could we not kick off our list with Wilt the Stilt? 60 years ago, the league's most prolific single-game scorer took his legend to new heights, as Wilt Chamberlain became the only NBA player ever to drop 100 points in a single game. Chamberlain's box scores from his peak match up with anything that any athlete has ever managed to put together. In 1961-62, the year he scored 100, Wilt averaged 50.4 points per game (to go along with a casual 25.7 rebounds per game). But nothing could compare to the night he had on March 2nd, 1962. After three dominant quarters, when it was clear Chamberlain was going to make history, his teammates just kept feeding him the rock. Wilt eventually finished 36-for-63 from the field, which is absurd, to go along with 28-for-32 from the free throw line. It's even more astonishing that he accomplished the feat before the three-point era. Given the range and accuracy of some modern day shooters, it feels inevitable that someone could challenge Wilt's record -- yet only the late Kobe Bryant has ever really come close, and even he fell 19 points shy of the mark. Maybe someone will eventually surpass the century mark. But until then, Wilt's record stands tall, at a nice, even 100.
100 Years of Monza
We couldn't celebrate a Friday Five milestone without including Formula 1, and luckily, 2022 marks an incredibly important centennial anniversary. Monza, AKA the Temple of Speed, opened in the fall of 1922, and has been the site of some of racing's biggest triumphs. The circuit, located just north of Milan, has hosted the Italian Grand Prix every year since 1949 (with the exception of 1980). It's the oldest motor-racing circuit in mainland Europe, and is the third oldest in the world behind Brooklands and Indianapolis. Monza is known for being incredibly fast and incredibly dangerous, and drivers usually are on full throttle for almost an entire lap. There's a ton of room for driver error and engine failure, which has led to some wild races at Monza, including the closest finish in F1 history at the 1971 Italian GP. The legendary track provided the backdrop for a critical moment in the Hunt-Lauda rivalry, as seen in the movie Rush, and more recently it saw tempers flare between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. There have been countless of memorable races driven at Monza over its 100 years, and we're glad we found a fitting place to celebrate it.
Usain Bolt's 100m Dominance
Speaking of speed -- we've gotta talk about Usain Bolt. The Jamaican sprinter was the fastest man alive for a good portion of the 21st Century so far, and is the all-time king of the 100-meter dash. While it wasn't his fastest ever time, one race really stands out in our memories to showcase Bolt's dominance: the 2008 Olympic Final. Bolt, coming into the race heavily-favored, set the then-world record with a blistering time of 9.69 seconds. He probably could have run it even faster, though, had he not slowed down with about 30 meters to go so he could wave his arms and celebrate. These races are usually decided by a fraction of a second, but Bolt was so far ahead of the field that he could take the time to bask in his achievement. It made for one of the most iconic sports photos ever, and truly one of the most memorable Olympic moments in recent history. Bolt's races were all must-see affairs, especially after his 2008 performance. Of course, Bolt would go on to break the world record yet again in 2009, and won numerous Olympic medals after 2008. But in our minds, his true, shining accomplishment will always be that 2008 victory.
Samuel L. Jackson's 100+ Performances
There are a number of incredibly prolific actors who have crossed the astonishing 100 film plateau, but probably none are as cool as Samuel L. Jackson. So, in honor of all the members of the 100-movie club, we'll give Samuel L. his due. Based on our calculations (AKA counting his filmography on Wikipedia), Jackson's 100th role happened sometime in 2012, the year he made both The Avengers and Django Unchained. Either of those would be fitting for the 100th entry into his filmography -- one made $1.5 billion and helped kick off a record-setting franchise, and the other was an Oscar-nominated action-drama from his longtime collaborator Quentin Tarantino. Such is life in the world of Samuel L. Jackson. He goes from playing Jules in Pulp Fiction to Mace Windu in Star Wars and the titular Coach Carter in a Disney family drama, and he always brings the same heat. He works with award-winning directors like Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, and Spike Lee, and then goes off to make two of our favorite junk sci-fi movies, Snakes on a Plane and Deep Blue Sea. He's a man of incredible talent and wears many hats, even if he doesn't necessarily have impeccable taste. But when you make over 100 movies, they can't all be perfect. So here's to you, Samuel L. Jackson, an inspirational character actor and volume-shooter -- we hope you hit 200.
The Office's 100th Episode - "Company Picnic"
In the modern, "Golden Age" of TV, where seasons are shorter and shows run for fewer years, there aren't many great shows that make it to 100 episodes. Sure, there's the occasional sitcom that no one you know actually watches, but none of the greats cross that century mark. Mad Men, The Sopranos, and Game of Thrones all came close, but none hit. However, in recent history, one of the great TV comedies ever made it to 100 episodes: The Office. So to round out the Friday Five, we wanted to celebrate the brilliant NBC sitcom, and specifically its milestone episode, "Company Picnic." It was the Season Five finale, and provided some truly iconic moments in the run of the show. Michael and Holly performed a cringeworthy parody of Slumdog Millionaire, in which they revealed mass layoffs were coming to the company. Dwight captained a surprisingly competitive Scranton volleyball team. And, of course, the episode ended on an all-time high note: Pam was pregnant. Obviously, keeping a show going at a high level for 100 episodes is incredibly difficult, but it's no surprise that the immensely talented writing team behind The Office managed to do it. It's hard to say when another of our favorites will make it to that level -- Curb Your Enthusiasm hit the century mark in 2020, but that's another once-in-a-generation show. Until then, we'll get back to our Office re-runs and enjoy our holiday weekend!