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Wilt Chamberlain shares how Shaquille O'Neal would have fared against him-"Not so good!"

Some of the best centers in the history of the NBA.
That time Wilt Chamberlain didn't acknowledge Shaquille O'Neal in Los Angeles and Shaq took it personal

Shaquille O'Neal and Wilt Chamberlain

The NBA has had its fair share of great and dominating big men through its lengthy history, but quite possibly, the two most imposing figures among them are Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O'Neal.

Clash of styles

One is a star of the 60s' and the holder of all the unbreakable records, while the other is the most unique and unstoppable physical specimen we have ever seen. But how would a matchup between the two go? Shaq maybe thinks he is better, but back in 1997, Wilt shared his view on the debate.

In an interview with Conan O'Brien back in 1997, Wilt got asked his opinion of a then young, 25-year-old Shaq and the constant comparisons between the two. Wilt complimented O'Neal but made sure to emphasize that he wouldn't have done well against him or the rivals from his era:

"He plays an entirely different game of basketball than I do. He uses his physicality, and he's a big, young, strong man. And that works well in today's game. If he was facing me and other guys of my time, not so, not so good. I mean, I'm a guy bench pressing around 600 pounds."

Wilt Chamberlain, Conan Classic

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Wilt had to play against the likes of Bill Russell, Nate Thurmond, Wes Unseld, Willis Reed, Artis Gilmore, Elvin Hayes, and more, who are considered to be some of the toughest big men ever. But to be fair, Shaq came also came up in the golden era of NBA centers, having to face guys like Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Alonzo Mourning, and more.

Both of them had some hefty competition, but what Wilt is trying to say is that his physical brand of basketball simply wouldn't have worked back in the 60s'. For that time, it was great and unstoppable but non-comparable to the older eras. If he's right or wrong is really up to an individual's preference, as there are many that will defend Shaq or agree with Wilt.

The fact of the matter is that Wilt never really had too much respect for Shaquille O'Neal. Was it people proclaiming him the most dominant player ever and taking the torch from him, or not being able to win it all yet at the time is not really clear. It's really a shame that Wilt never got to see Shaq in his full glory and prime winning championships. Maybe it would have swayed his opinion and given him more respect for his fellow big men.

Thankfully we used NBA2K to settle the debate and see how this matchup would have turned out.


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