Saturday, July 16, 2005

WILT versus SHAQ

*This article was written before the 2005-06 season.

A book titled -- WHO'S BETTER, WHO'S BEST IN BASKETBALL? MR. STATS SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON THE TOP 50 NBA PLAYERS OF ALL TIME, written by a self-proclaimed statistician named ELLIOTT KALB, claims that, by the numbers, SHAQUILLE O’NEAL is the greatest NBA player of all time. He writes that no other player has dominated his era like O’Neal has. Unfortunately for Mr. Kalb, he is incorrect by his own formula. While I have always believed that the greatest NBA player of all-time is MICHAEL JORDAN, if we are to look solely at a player’s individual statistics and his ability to dominate the era in which he played, the clear answer is WILT CHAMBERLAIN. And, it’s not even close.

Here is a statistical look at Wilt’s career. Take a peek, and then decide for yourself if Shaq is really the best player ever:

- WILT had career averages of 30.1 PPG and 22.9 RPG.
- SHAQ has averaged 26.7 PPG and 12 RPG in his career.

- WILT averaged 50.4 PPG and 25.7 RPG during the 1961-62 season.
- SHAQ’S highest scoring average was 29.7 PPG in 1999-00. His best rebounding average was 13.9 RPG in 1992-93.

- WILT scored 60 or more points in a game 15 times.
- SHAQ has scored 61 points once.

- WILT won 7 consecutive scoring titles.
- SHAQ has led the league in scoring twice.

- WILT scored 31,419 points in 14 seasons.
- SHAQ has about 23,583 points in 13 seasons.

- WILT grabbed 23,924 rebounds in 14 seasons.
- SHAQ has grabbed 10,541 rebounds in 13 seasons.

- WILT owns the top 7 best rebound seasons ever. He led the NBA in rebounds 11 times.
- SHAQ has never led the league in rebounds.

- WILT led the NBA in assists in 1967-68, with an average of 8.6 APG. He had the most assists of any player in the league that season. No other center has ever led the league in assists.
- SHAQ’S best assist season was in 1999-00, when he averaged 3.8 APG.

- WILT never fouled out of a game, despite playing for 14 seasons.
- SHAQ has already fouled out of 47 games in 13 seasons.

- WILT made 72% of his field goal attempts in the 1972-73 season.
- SHAQ’S best field goal percentage in a season was 60.1% in 2004-05.

- WILT grabbed the NBA record 55 rebounds in a single game (against legendary center, BILL RUSSELL).
- SHAQ’S best single game rebound effort was 28.

- WILT was voted the NBA’s Most Valuable Player 4 times.
- SHAQ has won the MVP award once.

Here are other facts and stats about Wilt Chamberlain:

- WILT once scored 100 points in a game, an NBA record. He also has the second highest scoring game, 78 points. And the third, 73 points.

- Only four players have scored 70 or more points in one game: DAVID THOMPSON did it once with 73, ELGIN BAYLOR did it once with 71, DAVID ROBINSON did it once with 71. WILT did it 5 times.

- WILT scored 50 or more points in a game 118 times.

- WILT scored 40 or more points in a game 271 times, including a streak of 14 consecutive games.

- WILT scored 30 or more points in 65 consecutive games in 1961-62.

- WILT holds the single-game record for most points by a rookie, 58.

- WILT has the only Double Triple-Double game in NBA history: 22 points, 25 rebounds, and 21 assists.

- In the 1961-62 season WILT scored 50 or more points in a game 45 times. He had a streak of 7 straight 50-point games.

- WILT played the entire game, without resting, in 47 consecutive games.

- In 1967, WILT had a streak of 35 consecutive shots made without a miss.

- In a 1967 game, WILT made all 18 of the shots he attempted without a miss.

- Only two players have ever made 29 or more shots in a single game. RICK BARRY did it once. WILT did it 7 times.

- WILT was the 1960 NBA All-Star Game MVP after scoring 23 points with 25 rebounds.

- Wilt scored 42 points in the 1962 All-Star game.

- In WILT’S final season, he averaged 13.2 PPG and 18.6 RPG during the regular season. In the playoffs he raised his averages to 13.2 PPG and 22.5 RPG.

- The NBA did not keep records of blocked shots or steals during WILT’S era, but if it did, his numbers would have been absolutely astronomical.

- WILT owns 56 NBA regular season records.

Okay, so what this proves is that, statistically, Wilt Chamberlain was not only the most dominant player in NBA history, he was perhaps the most dominant player in the history of all team sports. In fact, the only number that O’Neal has over Chamberlain is in championships. Wilt was played on two championship team, whereas, Shaq has played on three. That, however is not a major factor in Mr. Kalb’s determination, and rightfully so, because STEVE KERR, a role-player, has more rings than both Chamberlain and O’Neal combined. But, for pure statistical domination, Wilt has the numbers to safely be called the greatest player in the history of the NBA. He dominated his peers every night and changed the way the game is played. Shaq did not become his era’s best center until HAKEEM OLAJUWON’S knees were destroyed and DAVID ROBINSON became too old to compete with the mammoth O’Neal. Apparently, Mr. Kalb is either a shameless Shaquille O’Neal fanatic, or a really, really bad statistician. Maybe he’s both.


  1. I'm with you. Jordan is the greatest. If Shaq were so dominant he would have won with Orlando, every year with LA and with Miami this year. He is nothing without the support players.

  2. Anonymous2:34 PM

    Preach on!