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I posted this in the Duncan thread then realized how out of place it was. I've been seeing alot of top 10 lists with Chamberlain ahead of Jordan, and Hakeem basically on the brink of the top 10. Chamberlain put up flashy numbers, but his success is questionable and the environment he did it in even moreso.

I don't think it's fair to compare big men from the 60's like Wilt to the modern day big man, the epitome of whom would be Hakeem Olajuwon. Wilt Chamberlain, although a great center, played in a totally different era than the center's of the 90s. He was 6'10 and considered a freak by his opponents. His athleticism was unheard of for a guy his size in that day, and that's how he averaged 50 ppg for a couple seasons. He could use his height and aggression to shoot over every center in the NBA. The only player that was big enough to stop him was Bill Russell.

Defense wasn't a priority in his day. No athlete today no matter how much skill and dominance he has could average 50 PPG or 25 RPG. Every player in the NBA player is more athletic and focussed on defense. Wilt Chamberlain was simply too much for his competition to handle. The only thing the puny big men of the 60's could do was foul him. And Wilt, who couldn't hit the side of a barn with a baseball from the FT line, would jump over the line and basically lay it in to the basket. He was never successful until he stopped shooting the ball, and passing it to his teammates. After all this domination and putting up insane numbers, he only won two championships throughout his whole career, and they required him to tone down his posession of the ball. He averaged 24 and 14 ppg in those seasons, showing that he couldn't win games by just being dominant. For him to be effective, he had to rebound and play defense, and pass the ball on offense. Wilt had Chet Walker and Billy Cunningham carry the scoring load in the season of his first championship, and Jerry West and Gail Goodrich carried the Lakers to the championship in 72. Wilt only averaged 14 ppg that year. Are you telling me the greatest center in history couldn't win with the ball in his hands?

Hakeem had a pretty prolific career. He didn't average 50 ppg, but he turned around the Houston franchise. They totalled 29 wins the season before they drafted him, and during his rookie year Hakeem helped the Rockets to 48 wins. He led the Rockets in scoring the first 10 years of his career (would've been more if not for injury) and in that span they went 584 - 400, winning 2 championships and robbed by the Jazz of one more. He had the best collection of post moves in history, and could block, rebound, steal, pass, shoot and scream for the ball in the clutch. He was arguably the greatest offensive and easily the greatest defensive force bigger than 7 ft, and he did this all against the likes of David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Mutumbo, Shaquille O'Neal (taught him how to play basketball) and the Rockets were the only team to have a winning record against the Bull's in the 90s.

Hakeem Olajuwon was undisputedly the greatest biggie of all time.

There's no doubt that Wilt evolutionized the game, and was the cause of many rule changes. But the competition just wasn't close to what the centers of the 90's had to face. Big men became more and more athletic. Defense was the key to success. If I was given the choice, I'd take Hakeem over Wilt any day.
 

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rebound and defense? chamberlain was better.

Originally posted by <b>The Franchise</b>!
Hakeem Olajuwon was undisputedly the greatest biggie of all time.
Undisputed by who? Rockets fans? Hakeem is good but he never led the league in assists, or was rookie of the year slash MVP if I may quote Joe Budden here. He also has only two rebounding titles, while Wilt has 11. Wilt owns Hakeem, that is the only undisputed fact here.
 

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The million dollar question is, should a player be judged by how good they actually are in comparison to a player of another era? Or should they be judge for how good they were compared to the players of their era?

Hakeem is most likely better than Wilt was, if you were able to take a prime Wilt and a prime Hakeem and compare them. However, theres no doubt that Wilt was better in comparison to the other players in his time.

I think players should be judged for how good they were in comparison to the players of their time, because I think if you put Tracy McGrady back in the 60s, he might be remembered as the greatest player of all time. A borderline star in the NBA today may have been remembered as a top 10 player of all time, had he played his career in the 60s. Thats what advancements in training will do for you.
 

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You can argue to your blue in the face but right now history has the top bigs as

Wilt
Kareem
Russell
Shaq

Hakeem was a great player but he is a tier below this group. Some of the media has Hakeem placed higher but the majority have Shaq snugly in place ahead Hakeem.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Re: rebound and defense? chamberlain was better.

Originally posted by <b>sherako</b>!
Undisputed by who? Rockets fans? Hakeem is good but he never led the league in assists, or was rookie of the year slash MVP if I may quote Joe Budden here. He also has only two rebounding titles, while Wilt has 11. Wilt owns Hakeem, that is the only undisputed fact here.
You're looking at numbers and numbers only. If Amare was born in 1940 we would probably be arguing over him being the greatest of all time. Wilt grabbing rebounds over guys who have a vertical equal to that of Mark Jackson isn't that impressive to me. Ask yourself what Hakeem's stats would have been had he played in Wilt's era.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Originally posted by <b>John The Cool Kid</b>!
The million dollar question is, should a player be judged by how good they actually are in comparison to a player of another era? Or should they be judge for how good they were compared to the players of their era?

Hakeem is most likely better than Wilt was, if you were able to take a prime Wilt and a prime Hakeem and compare them. However, theres no doubt that Wilt was better in comparison to the other players in his time.

I think players should be judged for how good they were in comparison to the players of their time, because I think if you put Tracy McGrady back in the 60s, he might be remembered as the greatest player of all time. A borderline star in the NBA today may have been remembered as a top 10 player of all time, had he played his career in the 60s. Thats what advancements in training will do for you.
Agreed, we both used analogies of modern day HS miracles (McGrady / Stoudemire) to prove our point.
 

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The problem with the "he played against inferior" competition argument is that IT WASN'T HIS FAULT.

Think about this. Let's pretend that Shaq is Wilt for a second and he comes into the league in the 60s, as good as he is today, and dominates of course. Do you then say that Hakeem is automatically better than Shaq because he played against taller players?

The question I'm raising is, how dominate does a guy have to be against 60s/70s players to overcome the inferior competition argument? You can't automatically write someone off because of competition, because obviously the competition has no effect on how good a player is as an individual.
 

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Re: Re: rebound and defense? chamberlain was better.

Originally posted by <b>The Franchise</b>!
You're looking at numbers and numbers only.
How about this number-when Wilt decided to lay off the scoring and concentrate on defense + rebounding, the Lakers won 33 straight games, the longest winning run in pro sports history. What's Hakeem's longest win streak?

If Amare was born in 1940 we would probably be arguing over him being the greatest of all time.
If Tim Thomas had Jordan's drive, he'd be the best player in the league. It didn't happen so there is no need to argue it.

Ask yourself what Hakeem's stats would have been had he played in Wilt's era.
Greatness transfers over. Wilt was clearly the best player in that era. Was Hakeem the best in his? No so there really is no argument to make, Wilt owns Hakeem.
 

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Originally posted by <b>LakerMania</b>!
You can argue to your blue in the face but right now history has the top bigs as

Wilt
Kareem
Russell
Shaq

Hakeem was a great player but he is a tier below this group. Some of the media has Hakeem placed higher but the majority have Shaq snugly in place ahead Hakeem.

Do you not remember that Olajuwon dominated Shaq during his first three years in the league?
 

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Originally posted by <b>LakerMania</b>!
You can argue to your blue in the face but right now history has the top bigs as

Wilt
Kareem
Russell
Shaq

Hakeem was a great player but he is a tier below this group.
Your history.Olajuwon was a far superior defender to all of the above except for Russell, and Olajuwon was a far superior offensive player to Russell and on par, offensively, with the others with the possible exception of Chamberlain (and even that may not be the case, as playing in totally different quality leagues distorts the numbers).
 

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Hmmm, Wilt once averaged 50 points and 20 rebounds per game ONE SEASON. No one ever dominated like he did.
 

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Your history.Olajuwon was a far superior defender to all of the above except for Russell, and Olajuwon was a far superior offensive player to Russell and on par, offensively, with the others with the possible exception of Chamberlain (and even that may not be the case, as playing in totally different quality leagues distorts the numbers).
Come on, no one is a better offensive center than Shaq. PPG don't mean much because Shaq scored as much through other players. Plus he could score at will, and probably still can. Hakeem had great moves, but he's no Shaq on offense.
 

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Unless we see them 1-on-1 in their respective primes, Wilt is the champ here.
 

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i think if you put shaq back in wilt's time, he would have had a greater impact than anyone in the history of the game, including olajuwon. does that make him the GOAT? i think by the time shaq's career is over, depending on what he does with the heat, you could make a pretty decent argument that he is.

i remember a few months ago arguing with someone that thought wilt chamberlain was stronger than shaq. wilt was a strong man, but he wasn't nearly as big as shaq. now you might say "size =/= strength, which is true... except that under shaq's one layer of fat is muscle. have you seen him flex? show me someone shaq's size with that kind of muscle definition. he's muscular AND he's a very big man. i strongly doubt wilt was as strong as him.

and i'm referring mainly to shaq in his athletic prime. he's ballooned up quite a bit the past couple years. he's still strong as an ox though.
 

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Originally posted by <b>Pan Mengtu</b>!


Come on, no one is a better offensive center than Shaq. PPG don't mean much because Shaq scored as much through other players. Plus he could score at will, and probably still can.
I didn't say Olajuwon was a better offensive center than Shaq. But, in his prime, he was on par. He also scored at will and was less at the mercy of how the referees were calling the game to be effective.

Any difference between Olajuwon and Shaq offensively was much smaller than the difference between their defenses.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Originally posted by <b>Pan Mengtu</b>!
Come on, no one is a better offensive center than Shaq. PPG don't mean much because Shaq scored as much through other players. Plus he could score at will, and probably still can. Hakeem had great moves, but he's no Shaq on offense.
I never saw the Lakers go to Shaq with the game on the line. Why? Because he needs to be close to the basket to be effective, and if he is, the opposing team would just foul him and send him to the FT line, his biggest weakness. Hakeem never had such a weakness.
 
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