Naming the greatest is always a hard thing to do. As most times you’re looking at players from didn’t eras and trying to compare them. Not an easy task. However when you have a player come along no matter what the sport and they change the rules to level the playing advantage. That says it all.
Whenever people talk about the greatest, it’s ridiculous how obvious their bias is. For instance, most people’s top 10 basketball players played within 10 years of each other. Is it a coincidence that most people’s top 10 include MJ, Magic, Bird, and Kareem? Some even include Isaiah Thomas!
My top 5 goes like this:
MJ Wilt James Oscar Hakeem
Hakeem is a toss up between Kareem and Russell. But don’t even get me started on the most overrated player of all time in Kobe Bryant. He should never even sniff anyone’s top 5 and I wouldn’t put him in my top 10. 15 at best for him.
Look at his overall performance in every sport in which he competed, starting in High School and you will probably change the words “basketball player” to athlete. He was unbelievable.
@JhawkAlum Wait a decade and swap Embiid for Hakeem!
When you look at players in the context of the team or teams they played, some move higher and some move lower. Wilt, by and large, played for below average teams and still managed to put incredible numbers. Bill Russel is the complete opposite, he is no doubt a great player but he played for extremely good teams that made him look that much better. If you look a the head to head numbers against Wilt, it is not even close…btu the Celtics won most of the games. Other than the one year at Milwaukee, Kareem did not had superior teams with the Bucks and only got better once he went to the Lakers. Jordan and Olajuwon had very good teams around them and their success is partly a result of that, although both were superior players. I would take Kareem over Olajuwon any time.
I believe that it’s always tough to compare different generations and it’s really kind of a moot point. But I don’t mean to diminish his amazing career. His numbers were mindblowing, staggering really. I find myself wondering why he didn’t win more championships, but obviously it’s at least due to his lack of having great teams around him.
Dude they changed the rules because of Wilt. Did they change the rules because of Jordan? Are they changing the rules for King LeBron?
Think about it? They changed the rules because Wilt was so dominate.
@DoubleDD Jordan revolutionized the shoe market and we all know exactly how much influence they have over KU’s current roster.
@DoubleDD Wilt came along just late enough in history to have a chance at the NBA. He was a part of a pioneering group of African Americans to play in the sport professionally. That’s a factor that needs to be considered. Again, I’m not saying he wasn’t the greatest, but you really can’t say he was either because he didn’t play against todays great players in a more developed game.
P.S.: Wilt would score and rebound far more in today’s game, if he were on a weak team and asked to carry the team, as he was in his early career. Contemporary weight and CV training would have added 40 pounds to Wilt by the time he was an NBA rookie. He would become a bigger, stronger, more powerful NBA rookie 2-3 years earlier than he did without the wear and tear of KU basketball (being quadruple teamed and hacked to pieces) and track and the essentially wasted year with the trotters.
Add in that he would essentially have the lane to himself because of the need to guard the Trey stripe, and be guarded by a bunch 6-9 forwards that he could dunk and finger roll everytime down the floor and be allowed to walk, shove, and pretty much do as he pleases without worry of a violation, and one can conservatively infer he would average 10 Ppg and 5-10 rpg more!!! His high point game would probably be 115-120 points instead of 100.
He would KILL today’s game.
It’s hard to know who is the greatest… but he was unique at the time. These days, there are more guys that have physical attributes that are similar to his. That’s at least one way to think about comparisons. Durant and Anthony Davis (and maybe Joel Embiid) are guys around 7’ that have similar dexterity.
They are different, but the closest I can compare to Wilt in today’s game. Can you think of someone else who is similar physically to Wilt?
The game is faster, there is more parity and it’s officiated differently. Plus there is the 3-pt line which changes the strategies. So it’s hard to compare.
I think Wilt in his prime would be a leader in the league in scoring but not at the astronomical rate that he did back in the day.
@jaybate-1.0 How do you think Jordan would do without hand checking? The freedom of movement allowed today would favor him immensely. Wilt would be a stud in any era, but there are more footers in the NBA now. And many of those big guys are pretty agile as well. I don’t know if he’d put up better numbers now than then, but at least they’d count his blocks!
Good point about hand.checking, but…
Small ball and the Trey have filled the NBA with more great small ballers than in Jordan’s era for sure. OMG, Lebron would eat Jordan alive, and Russell W would be just as good. MJ’s weak trey for most of his career would cause him huge problems in today’s game, because of the zones today that he never had to drive on. Jordan would suffer far more in today’s game than Wilt. Wilt would absolutely feast today!!!
Today’s footers just aren’t very good since Duncan left.
Towns is all right… Davis is a player to build a franchise around.
@dylans towns struggled against boogie the other night
I’m curious how Wilt would fit in to today’s game?
I know one thing… he would probably shoot 100 FTs a game. And that is a bad thing.
Teams would flood their benches into the game and play “hack a Shaq” with Wilt.
I’m afraid his game would be doomed until he learned to make at least 70% from the line.
Teams often intentionally fouled him back then, too… but that was before the increase in PPP (points per possession) created largely from the trey ball. In today’s game Wilt’s statistical points “pros” and “cons” wouldn’t add up to the advantage he had back in his day.
I think Wilt was fortunate to play the game when he did. It gave him the opportunity to show what he could do, and he did, making him a legend that will live forever!
@Crimsonorblue22 Boogie is the most underrated center in the league. If he had a better attitude I think he would attract another big time talent to come to Sacramento with him. He could easily be a major piece of a championship team.
Yeah, cousins is nice. So is the Spurs big. Embiid may surpass them all if he can stay healthy! Seriously Embiid is like a true 7ft Hakeem with more skill and bulk at this stage in their careers.
" but there are more footers in the NBA now"
How many of them averaged 50.4 ppg and 25.7 rebounds per game over the course of an entire season? Without a 3 point shot?
I think its more the organization that keeps another star from playing with boogie. But I do agree his attitude is not productive, will he ever mature?
It’s incredibly difficult to compare eras.
If you drop young Lebron James or Michael Jordan into the league when Elgin Baylor came in, we may have rules about how far away from the basket you were allowed to jump to dunk. Drop Steph Curry into the league around that time and there would be rules about how much one guy could dribble, or how far away you could be when you shot.
Wilt changed the rules because he was dominant (and because he basically destroyed the set shot as a part of the game). Wilt, along with Russell, Baylor and Robertson revolutionized the game by making it a vertical game as well as horizontal.
Prior to that quartet, guys played the game either vertically or horizontally. Go back and watch players from the early 1950s. Big guys played the game vertically because they were tall. Small guys played the game horizontally because they were not. But Wilt, Russell, Elgin and Oscar made you play both at the same time.
Wilt and Russell could run with guards, so guards could not just play on a horizontal plane, using their speed to outrun the giants that manned the paint. Elgin changed the way you could attack the rim. Oscar was the first truly big guard that could pass, handle, shoot, post up and do all of the things we see today. All four guys could play above the rim if necessary, but could also run the floor, defend, etc. They were all very much all around players.
Think of Wilt as an early Shaq. Think of Elgin as the first Lebron. Imagine Russell as Kevin Garnett. Oscar is the hardest to make a parallel for - maybe an early Magic, but smaller and better defensively.
Players now are so much more well rounded. Big guys can step away from the basket and handle or shoot. A guy like Anthony Davis would simply break the league in 1956. A 6-11 guy that handles like a guard, but blocks shots, runs like a gazelle and can shoot jumpers too. There wasn’t an answer for that in 1956. Heck, nobody then even knew that could be a question. And Anthony Davis is not the best player in the NBA right now.
Heck, Kevin Durant would likely turn the whole world upside down. A 6-10 guy that’s one of the best perimeter shooters in the league, handles like a guard, can post or step away from the basket and score. Who guards Kevin Durant in 1957 or 1958? And he can shoot FTs too. He likely wrecks the league in ways we can’t even imagine.
But that’s the thing. The game has been pushed to progress by all of the different elements of greatness that have been introduced. The game is where it is because of Wilt’s size and agility making big men have to become mobile. It was raised because Elgin saw you could fly, David Thompson decided to walk on the sky, Julius went to the Dr., Michael Jordan became Air and every kid thought they could dunk from the FT line.
Now Steph Curry is leading a new revolution of long range bombers that will push the game to another place. 20 years from now there will be some kid built like Lebron swishing 25 footers and simultaneously dunking on people with severe malice, and people will say that guy is the greatest.
Not the greatest. Just next. Always next. And the game marches on.
@BeddieKU23 just heard Ben Mac didn’t agree w/terms of contract
@nuleafjhawk against Wilt’s competition, Shaquille would’ve done the same thing. I’m not saying Wilt isn’t great, but the playing field isn’t level. You really can’t compare stats from bygone eras in basketball or football. Baseball stats pre/post steroid era are fairly comparable though.
Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Sam Jones and John Havilecek and Pete Maravich would each exceed Steph Curry’a accomplishments in today’s game. Each would score 5-10 Ppg more than they did because of the Trey and each were taller, as strong, and as good of outside shooters. These guys would Small Ball the NBA to death.
As far as pure shooting goes, World B Free would equal or exceed Steph outside.
The great players above would be vastly more dominant in today’s game of 6-9 forwards. Imagine a league a quarter full of Steph Currys!
We are most definitely NOT in a golden age of talent today.
Wilt never was allowed to walk or foul at will, as he would be today. He would average 10 Ppg over what he did back when he played. He even said so when asked about Shaq. And its worse now than at Shaqs time and the post defenders are munchkins.
And if they fouled him, 50 times a game he would make 70% of his dunks and 50% of his free throws on 50 FGAs. Do the math. His PPP WOULD AVERAGE HIGHER AND WITH LESS VARIANCE THAN THE THREE POINT SHOOTING TEAMS TODAY, except on their very hottest nights. Plus his Trey balling mates would have wide open looks on any kickouts and so shoot a sharply higher average on 3ptas than opponents.
This isn’t even close!
@BeddieKU23 I’ll definitely agree that their front office is by far one of the worst in the league. They currently have 4 centers on their roster. Which is laughable in a league that has essentially devalued the position.
Rudy Gay will be a nice piece for a Thunder or Clippers before the trade deadline.
Rudy looked great against Wiggins the other night. Forgot he still could ball that good which is easy to forget when you play for the Kings.
Blessing for Ben if he can get on a better team. He’s played well so far to start the season so he’s probably auditioning for his next contract. Were rumors he was trade bait, I’m sure he could be traded during the year
@BeddieKU23 They really just need to start over and rebuild. Starting with the GM. I could only imagine the haul they could get for Boogie and Gay. 6 first round picks over the next 3 years maybe?
If they can flip BMac for a developmental guy and a 1st rounder I’d say he is gone as well.
I don’t agree that we have more tall players now; there were plenty of tall players in Wilt’s time, just none that could match up with him and I cannot think of a center that could match up now; physically he was way ahead of his time.
Last season I checked the starting rosters of all NBA teams and there were only half a dozen players identified as true centers, most of the players we consider center are now listed ad PFs. Tall players do not want to bang inside anymore and many that are tall enough to be centers are either PFs or the currently popular stretch PF.
I think you hit on one area that many (including myself) would overlook if Wilt was playing today… his assist numbers!
Wilt had an amazing gift for passing. He held the ball in one hand and tossed it like a baseball. With his height, he had a unique perspective on the game and often found passing lanes that other players couldn’t find or see.
The game has changed a lot since the days of Wilt. His passing would help prevent the double-teams. Wilt INVITED double-teams in his day and would THRIVE on being double-teamed today.
I’m extremely curious if Wilt was around today if shooting coaches could help him over his FT and midrange shooting woes. That help would propel him to outrageous point totals!
@dylans Mmmmmmm - wouldn’t make the Shaq comparison. He was not 1/4th the athlete that Wilt was.
My dad noted that Wilt’s FT % tended to spike up in big games. Thus yes, they could help him with concentration.
@nuleafjhawk I disliked shaqs style of play and never was a fan of his. But dude was a force of nature. Bill Russel is the only player of hat era that I can think of with enough size to hold position on him. My point is that any dominate modern era center in his prime would put up monster stats in Wilts era.
I am aware that wilt was also freakishly strong, nailed every woman he ever looked at, could walk on water, and was the best center ever. I just don’t think the gap is that large.
Who would you rather have Marino or Montana?
@jaybate-1.0 absurd statements. Athletes today are far better trained.
Basketball has also become a sport played better all over the world. So now we have giant Europeans coming over to play in the post. Something Wilt never had to deal with.
Just can’t even comprehend how someone could think one man is more of a freak than 50 years of other players from all over the entire world. That he was so good generations of players couldn’t even touch him. That narrative is so absurd. Shaq would have done the same thing if not more in that time period. Without hesitation do I say that. Shaq put up nearly 30ppg in the 90s and thousands. 30 years of being able to study the game and develop a defense to stop such large players.
Shaq (7’1 300 lbs) played:
- Yoa (7’6, 311 lbs),
- Olajuwon (7’0 255 lbs),
- David Robinson (7’1 249 lbs),
- Ewing (7’0 240 lbs),
- Mutombo (7’2 260 lbs),
- Elden Campbell, (6’11, 280 lbs),
- Dwight Howard 6’11 265 lbs
Wilt (7’1 276 lbs) played:
- Bill Russell (6’9, 220 lbs)
- Walt Bellamy (6’11 225 lbs)
- Jerry Lucas (6’11, 229 lbs)
- Nate Thurmond (6’11 225 lbs)
- Willis Reed 6’9 (240 lbs)
- Clyde Lovellette (6’9 234 lbs)
- Kareem (7’2, 247 lbs)
- Bob Lanier (6’10 260 lbs)
So, just to make that clear, Shaq played 5 other Hall of Fame Centers over 7 ft tall during his prime. And the two that weren’t 7 ft, well they were bigger than anyone Wilt faced except for Kareem. In no possible way could Wilt have even came close to scoring the way he did in the 60s. He played against guys giving up 4-5 inches and 50 lbs. Shaq in that era would have had that same height advantage, except he had 100 plus pounds on many players. He would have literally been able to score at will the same exact way Wilt did.
Another thing to keep in mind about wilt is that he suffered a cute insomnia for most of his life and it no doubt adversely impacted his playing career. If he were playing today, sleep science would almost certainly sharply improve his performance by sharply lessening his insomnia.
@jaybate-1.0 He also probably would have had a hard time passing todays drug protcols. Which probably effected his sleep. Not to mention it is pretty hard to sleep when you have someone new in your bed every night…
Lets call it forced acute sleep insomnia that would have most likely still been the case today…
Not even a little absurd.
You’re betraying about as little knowledge of insomnia, as of absurdity. 😂
Oh, what the heck, I’ll play along, since we are getting near tip off and near election day and folks need relief from the suspense about the reputed pedo ring that reputedly compromises both London and Washington media and gubmint officials the last few decades.
Think about how dominant Shaq was against that competition you list, which was of course the era before today’s small ball, which was what I was referring to, right?
But that’s okay. I’ll play take what ya give me.
Now, hold that thought about how dominant Shaq was when he was allowed unlimited charging and shoving, and about as many steps as he needed to score. I know it was this way because I lived in California part of his Laker years and watched him regularly.
And resist the temptatian to shout “that’s absurd!” 🙏
Now take a deep breath and compare Shaq’s size and strength with Wilt’s. They were sort of comparable, right? Wilt was thinner and an order of magnitude more athletic early and became stronger than Shaq later, but both guys had the ability to physically manhandle their competition.
One more deep breath…we’re almost there.
Wilt was fabulously more skilled than Shaq. Wilt had as many money moves in the post as any player that ever played the post. Drop steps both ways. Ambidextrous dunking AND finger rolling. And he said he could hook but never wanted to lower his fg% doing it. Turn around fadeaway from 10-15 was always money. Said he could shoot it from 20, but there was no point. Good dribbler. Great passer. Phenomenal body position and footwork. Impeccable timing.
Shaq had quick feet and he could dunk. That was it. Nothing else. Nada. And Shaq dominated the opponents you listed by charging and walking.
Wilt might never have missed a field goal in that era had he been allowed to charge and walk like Shaq.
Put another way, imagine what Shaq might have done had he had skill? He might have scored 100 points in a game.
I will have to respectfully disagree with you. It is said that Wilt had a 50 in. vertical jump, can you name me one of the modern center that comes even close to that? I will give you a clue, the average for the NBA is 28" and Shaq is listed at 32". Wilt was an athletic freak, regardless of what era he played; with today’s training techniques he would be even better. BTW, Shaq’s playing weight was 325 lbs and he is one of the heaviest and biggest players ever in the NBA and a lot of his success was by plowing over players with bulk rather than skill or finesse. If some of Wilt’s feats of strength are to be believed, he was probably stronger, faster and much more agile than Shaq and would have dominated him much like he did every other player. Just my opinion.
@jaybate-1.0 I am not saying Wilt wouldn’t have averaged right around 30 pts for his career still.
I am just saying he wouldn’t have scored MORE. Shooting over 6’9 guys is a joke for a 7’1 freak.
You can’t just set aside the size of the NBA changing just like it is nothing. The physicality of defense changing is also a factor. Sure he could have gotten away with more walks charges. But players also get away with more physicality on the defensive end now than they did then. You can bump bodies and it not be called a foul now. Shaq scored the way he did in the peak of defensive physicality. Early 90s was probably one of the most physical times in basketball.
In this era of small ball though, I could see where you are saying Wilt would score a ton. Boogie has done it. Anthony Davis looks like this year will be special. Wilt probably could have done it in this NBA due to the fact that there really are no good true centers left. And with how athletic he was he could have kept up with today’s pace.
We have to draw the difference between young Shaq and older Shaq, as we would with Young Wilt and veteran Wilt.
Wilt averaged 50 points a game as a 25 year old in 1961-62. The All-star centers and power forwards that year were the following players:
Dolph Schayes, 6-8, 220 pounds (basically the same size as our own Josh Jackson)
Johnny Green, 6-5, 200 pounds (smaller than Wayne Selden)
Bill Russell, 6-10, 215 pounds (a big guy in his day, but lighter than Perry Ellis is now, and Perry is at least 2 inches shorter than Russell)
Bob Pettit, 6-9, 205 (Cheick Diallo was bigger than Pettit when he arrived on campus last year)
Walt Bellamy, 6-11, 225 (legitimately tall, but again, he’s lighter than Perry Ellis, or even Carlton Bragg)
Wayne Embry, 6-8, 240 (Roughly Perry Ellis’ size)
Those were the all-stars that season. Could any of those players do anything to guard young Shaq?
But let’s dive into the numbers.
As a 25 year old, Wilt shot 50% from the field. As a 25 year old, Shaq shot 58% from the field. Yes, Wilt scored more, but he shot nearly 40 shots a game. You better average close to 50 a night shooting that much. Shaq shot less than 20 times per game as a 25 year old, but he averaged 28 points per game. If you up Shaq’s FG attempts to match Wilt’s, but shave off a little bit of his efficiency - say he shoots only 50% on the additional 20 attempts per game to match Wilt’s 39.5 shots per game vs his 19.1. That tacks 20 points per game onto his average, bringing him to 48.3 - and that doesn’t include any additional FTs!
Wilt shot 17 FTs per game that season. Shaq shot 11 as a 25 year old. Tack on the extra 6 FT attempts (not out of the realm of possibility if Shaq were shooting 20 more FG per game) and suddenly, even if Shaq shoots just 2-6 from the line on those additional 6 attempts, guess what his average is — 50.3. Wilt averaged 50.4 in his historic season.
That’s about as close to a mirror image as you can get. And that’s just the back of the envelope math to equalize the shot attempts and free throw attempts, dropping down Shaq’s efficiency with more usage. If Shaq were to maintain even a bit more efficiency, it’s not crazy to say he could have averaged 55+ per game if he replaced Wilt in that wild 1962 season, since I drop his FG% from 58% to 54% and his FT% from almost 53% to under 46% (Wilt was 50% and 61%, for perspective).
This isn’t an argument to say that Shaq was/is better. This is an argument to say that Shaq could have absolutely matched Wilt’s numbers from that season. There was never a post man that could score as reliably from inside 6 feet like Shaq. Here are his FG% from his rookie year until his 10th year in the league - 56, 60, 58, 57, 56, 58, 57, 57, 57, 58. Shaq shot 58% from the field for his career.
Wilt did eventually get there from an efficiency standpoint. After never shooting better than 54% during the first 9 years of his career, from then until the end of his career his numbers are like this - 68, 59, 58, 57, 55, 65, 72. An incredible run that brought his career number up to 54%. But during that run, Wilt never averaged more than 27.3 points per game. His efficiency skyrocketed right as he took fewer shots (never more than 19 a game, mostly in the mid teens as his career entered its later years).
Here’s a quick comparison of Wilt’s scoring and FG% vs. Shaq’s - Wilt in Blue, Shaq in Red. Notice how his efficiency doesn’t take off until his scoring plummets:
Meanwhile, notice how Shaq never strays from the high 50s or low 60s. He’s just a machine throughout his career. And Shaq played another couple years after this also where he was still a very efficient scorer (though often injured).
From his second year in the league until his 11th, if you had to bet your life that Shaq would average 26 points a game and shoot 55%+, you would have lived every year. That’s consistent and amazing.
One quick note. At age 25, Shaq was playing in his 6th season in the NBA, at age 25, Wilt was starting his 3rd season…3 years of experience is quite a bit, considering Wilt spent some yeasr with the Harlem Globe Trotters, not exactly the best place to find decent competition to hone your skills.
I am trying to envision someone among the competition you list trying to get physical with Will Chamberlain. Other than shaq, I am not having much luck. And if Shaq had tried to get rough with Wilt, I reckon Wilt would have just shot fadeaways on him for 50 points.
Your data makes my case.
Wilt, without unlimited charging and without as many steps allowed as necessary, Was comparable with Shaq, but only if we assume Shaq’s FG% would only drop the modest amount you assume arbitrarily, were Shaq’s FGAs to spike up to young Wilt’s level.
But of course Wilt had a huge increment of decline in his FG% that you document and it is logical to infer Shaq’s increment of decline as his FGAs spiked would be greater than Wilt, since Shaq was nearly touchless, when not dunking and Wilt had a fine 10-15 ft bank shot, plus all manner of finger rolls Shaq could not do.
The bottom line is: Shaq’s high percentage hinged almost entirely on dunking and that hinged largely on charging and traveling and strength. Wilt had the strength.
Wilt, with a sharply better touch, would, with charging and walking added to his repertoire, have had much higher FG%s both for low and high FGA totals than Shaq young, or old.
There’s no way around it.
And the issue of better players in Shaq’s time is rendered irrelevant as follows. I stipulate Shaq faced a greater number of good big men (though arguably not one as good as Big Russ on defense and rebounding, but charging and walking and strength offset that variable in Shaq’s time and so would have with Wilt also.
So Shaq without touch and without charging and walking, would not have done as well as Wilt did against Wilt’s era centers either in Wilt’s youth, or his maturity.
Shaq just couldn’t have come close to Wilt’s accomplishments without charging and walking.
@justanotherfan Don’t let those stats get in the way of Jaybates narrative!
@jaybate-1.0 First of all, they scored more points in the 60s than they did in the 90s. By nearly 25 ppg more…
While you keep bringing up charging and traveling, you conveniently forget defenses were also allowed to be more physical and actually make contact with a shooter in the time Shaq has played. Compared to 1960 where you couldn’t even sneeze on a guy shooting the ball. Free throw attempts were down 800 in a season in the same 60’s to 90’s time frame. PER TEAM. Shaq would have shot plenty of free throws.
His stats actually prove HIS point and not yours. It would be safe to take off 5% points of Shaq’s shooting percentage as that was the biggest gap of shooting percentage in any season in the NBA. That still puts Shaq in the exact same level of scoring as Wilt.
You are also forgetting the number of lob passes Wilt was able to catch over 6’7-6’9 defenders that were easy dunks. Shaq had to actually establish position against guys with Wingspans that were at least comparable to his own.
These are the facts JB. Your own personal love for Wilt is getting in the way of seeing things for the way they truly are.
So we are down to comparing Wilt to Shaq? Really?
I mean I like Shaq and all, but how can anybody reach that conclusion?
Sure I can buy the argument of taking a modern day player like Anthony Davis putting him in a time machine and sending him back into time. That he would dominate. I mean the game has evolved this we all can agree on. Yet you guys aren’t wanting to look at the other side of the coin. What if we could bring a young boy Wilt into the future and let him harness his game with advancement in training technology, and coaching. Let that sink into your mind.
I mean they didn’t even keep track of blocked shots when Wilt was playing. He changed the game in every way. He holds records that still stand today.
The thing is a special player or a gifted player is just that. It doesn’t matter what era they are born in. I have no doubt in my mind a young Wilt growing up in todays game would still dominate. I always believe Wilt dominance would be so profound that they would change the rules of the game again.
You see Wilt was not only a gifted man but he had a lions heart. Even a post modern Wilt would give the best of the modern age all they could handle. King Lebron would find his ass on the floor picking up what’s left of his shattered ego if he locked horns with Wilt.
You are missing the main component. By and large Wilt played for crappy teams where he was basically the entire team, except for a couple of years. Shaq, on the other hand, played for much better teams and had a much better supporting cast. Place Shaq in most of the teams Wilt played and see how his number dip.