Wilt Chamberlain Questioned a Young Shaquille O’Neal Who Just Made It to NBA’s Top 50 List: “He Could Be Taught to Play a Whole Lot Better”

Published 12/24/2021, 11:30 AM EST
PHOENIX – FEBRUARY 12: Shaquille O’Neal #32 of the Eastern Conference All-Stars cracks a smile against the Western Conference All-Stars during the1995 NBA All-Star Game on February 12, 1995 at the America West Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1995 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)


As far as legendary NBA centers are concerned, Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal have both booked their spot on the list long ago. The two players revolutionized the game, giving the position a new meaning. Having said that, they did play in different eras – Chamberlain retiring decades before O’Neal began playing.

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Over the years, both icons have shared their views on each other, before and after retirement.

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What does Wilt Chamberlain have to say about Shaquille O’Neal?

In an old interview, the late NBA champion spoke of a young O’Neal, who was on the world’s Top 50 list. Irrespective of the status O’Neal had achieved, the two-time NBA champion hoped O’Neal could do better.

“As a player, for his size he is extremely agile. And I think he could be taught to play a whole lot better”, he said.

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Chamberlain explained that while he did put out, and is getting back in shape to be better, he still performed badly in the last quarter. Irrespective of the game, the last quarter is most crucial.

He did compliment O’Neal, referring to the four-time NBA champion as a ‘big strong, powerful guy who runs up on top of people‘. After all, O’Neal was a celebrity who always brought something to the table.

Chamberlain upset over O’Neal 1996-1997 award ceremony snub

Along with his game, Chamberlain also spoke about the award ceremony O’Neal did not show up to. Looking at it as an honor, Chamberlain expected O’Neal to be there for the game and its spirit.

“Very very much so because he should have been there just to allow himself to take a pitch with all those great guys,” he expressed, “It’s part of the spirit of the game – it’s part of the history of the game which you very much appreciate”.

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AUSTIN, TX – OCTOBER 14: American Express Brings Together Rapper Travis Scott and Sport’s Legend Shaquille O’Neal at Austin City Limits Festival on October 14, 2018 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for American Express)

The 1996 list only had 11 active members on it, O’Neal’s name was mentioned amongst Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon, Scottie Pippen, Davis Robinson, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Robert Parish, and John Stockton.

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O’Neal did prove his worth even after the ’96-97 season, winning four NBA titles before retiring in 2011. While he was still was with the Orlando Magic back then, he ended up playing with five other teams before he retired.

On the other hand, Chamberlain began his NBA career in the 50s, playing for three teams. He retired in 1973 to work on other opportunities and interests. Dealing with heart ailments for years, the legend passed away in 1999.

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Devika

547 articles

Devika Pawar is a Golf and NBA writer at Essentially Sports. A psychology graduate from KJ Somaiya, Devika has an experience with sportswriting at Republic World for around two years now. She loves NBA a little too much, and is a dedicated Golden State Warriors fan.

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