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When I think of giants in NBA basketball, I always think of one guy first which is Wilt Chamberlain. Because he’s not the heaviest or the tallest, but the biggest ,the strongest man who has ever played basketball. Shaquille O’Neal has nothing on Wilt when it comes to strength and as a giant. Because Wilt was 7’1 270 pounds or so all muscle, Shaq the same hight and probably weighing 320 pounds. But without the brute strength of Wilt because Shaq was not all muscle, didn’t play with the same energy for an entire game that Wilt did.
Shaq wasn’t the rebounder or the defender that Wilt was and wasn’t as dominant or have the all around offensive game even in the post that Wilt did. Shaq is the dominant center of the last decade and late 1990s, but not even the best center of his generation. That goes to Hakeem and I would take Patrick Ewing in his prime over Shaq as well. So to say that Shaq who was a great player and a great center was the Wilt Chamberlain or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of his generation is unfair to Wilt and Kareem. Who were both better, but also unfair to Shaq for him to try to live up to that.
As impressive as Wilt’s stats are the rebounds, points, assists as well and if block shots were a stat back then, he would’ve had a lot of those as well, Wilt was that he also won two NBA Championships, one with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1967 one of the best teams of all-time, but also with the 1972 Los Angeles Lakers another team that’s one of the best of all-time, but here’s a player that played for two of the best NBA teams of all time and won two championships with them.
Wilt probably would’ve won more and perhaps didn’t do enough to make that happen and perhaps more interested in his own point totals. The famous saying being that Wilt scored more points against Bill Russell every time they played for the championship. But Russell would always win the championships except in 1967, is not just a joke, but is real because Russell was a better team player, but he also played for better teams.
You could make a case for either Wilt or Kareem as being the best center of all-time. And you also make a very good case for either of them being the best player of all-time as well. I lean towards Kareem as someone who was the best center in the best era that the NBA has ever seen for centers. And big man in general and Kareem was a better team player as well. But no one ever dominated the game from an individual standpoint as Wilt. Which makes him the most dominant player in NBA history. And a giant among men in the NBA.