Skip to main content

"I'd bust Wilt's ass" -- Shaq reveals his all-time ranking for the Lakers' big men

Kareem and Shaq

During the NBA on TNT pregame show, following the NBA's announcement of the first 25 players from the 75th Anniversary Team, O'Neal was asked to rank the best centers in Lakers' history. Here's what he had to say:

Kareem, me, then Wilt. Yeah, I'm better than Wilt. I'd bust Wilt's ass. Hell yeah!

Shaquille O'Neal, NBA on TNT

To no one's surprise, Barkley disagreed, kicking off the back and forth between two NBA legends. O'Neal cited his rings, as he always does, and the statue of him outside the Staples Center -- he would not have a statue if his impact wasn't remarkable. Barkley's answer was simple: "you're already getting petty."

But is he? O'Neal is right to rank himself as one of the Lakers' great big men. But is he better than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? Should he even rank himself above Wilt Chamberlain?

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Where does Shaq rank among Lakers' big men?

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, O'Neal, and Chamberlain are all deserving to be in the top spot. Choosing the best among the centers who played for the Lakers is tricky. The players played in different eras under different circumstances and different levels of competition. 

Abdul-Jabbar sits on top of the most points scored list of all-time. His record is in danger of being overtaken by LeBron James this season. He won five rings in eight finals appearances. Off the court, Kareem remains an ambassador of the game, often appearing in public events and even campaigning for the players to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, Wilt Chamberlain played for the Purple and Gold in the latter part of his career. He was not at his peak yet, but he managed to win a title and the Finals MVP at 36 years old. If Wilt suited up for the Lakers five years earlier, he would have won and accomplished more. So what's the verdict?

Shaq is wrong with his rankings; he should name himself ahead of Kareem and Wilt. In terms of dominance, The Big Diesel changed how teams drafted in his generation. He managed to score 28,596 in his career despite lacking 3-point shots and bricking almost every free throw and spent his prime years as a Laker with career averages of 27 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. That's why he deserves to be No.1 on this list. But why talk about it on the opening day of a new season?

Ranking all-time greats bring up heated discussions. As mentioned, aside from the stats, the players all played in different eras. Can Wilt or Kareem dominate today's NBA the way they used to dominate in their generation? Does Shaq's lack of outside shooting hurt his team's chances of making the playoffs if he played today? There's no way of knowing, which makes the all-time lists an interesting topic every time. 

However, this one could've waited. Shaq just couldn't resist bringing it up.

Bronny James

“He’s gonna be a whole different beast” - Gilbert Arenas praises Bronny James Jr. after a request to scout him by Lebron James

Arenas recalls when LeBron told him to scout his son Bronny and give him an honest opinion on whether he has any potential to be a legitimate basketball player

LeBron James & John Salley

John Salley praises LeBron James for calling out the media’s coverage of the Jerry Jones picture - “Everybody wanting to call LeBron a sellout; no, you can’t”

Salley believes that James can no longer be labeled a sellout after he stepped up and voiced his concerns on an issue that not many people are paying attention to

Kristaps Porzingis & Luka Doncic

Kristaps Porzingis opens up about his failed partnership with Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks - “I just wasn’t the right guy”

When asked about his failed stint with the Mavs, Porzingis admitted that he and Luka Doncic were not a strong fit on the court together

New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing

"I'm here and I plan to finish my career here" — when Patrick Ewing left the New York Knicks for the Seattle Supersonics

Patrick Ewing hinted at how things played out with him and the Knicks that prompted him to leave the team in 2000.

michael-jordan-luc-longley-min (1)

Luc Longley on Michael Jordan’s only condition to end the Chicago Bulls’ practice sessions

Luc Longley gave us a peek into Michael Jordan's obsession with competition and winning.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Isaiah Thomas

“You're not given a real chance” — Isaiah Thomas breaks down 10-day contracts in the NBA

Former Boston Celtics All-Star Isaiah Thomas opens up about the reality of 10-day contracts in the NBA.

Charlotte Hornets guard Tony Parker

Almost lifers — stars who played their entire career for a single NBA franchise until their last season

As it turns out, all five guys probably would've been better off just retiring as icons of their original teams.

Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade

“Being able to stay out to 5AM and still score 40” — Dwyane Wade on his favorite memory from the 2006 Miami Heat

Dwyane Wade still couldn't help but be elated whenever he looked back at his 2006 run with the Miami Heat.