“I Stopped Scoring”: When Wilt Chamberlain Stirred Massive Michael Jordan Debate

Published 09/28/2021, 4:03 PM EDT
Michael Johnson #23, shooting guard for the Chicago Bulls prepares to make a shot during a Central Division game in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA) 1988 – 1989 season at Chicago Stadium, Chicago, United States. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Allsport/Getty Images)

The late Wilt Chamberlain once said that Michael Jordan was not the greatest basketball player of all time. This came as a shock to many people who consider Jordan to be the basketball GOAT.


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NBA fans have always disputed between the holders of the ‘GOAT’ title with a lot of former NBA stars making their way into the debate. In an old interview, Wilt Chamberlain did not hold back from making his opinions about the ‘GOAT’ title known.

Chamberlain himself is one of the greatest ever and was the first NBA player to score more than 30,000 points during his professional career. During a season, he averaged over 40 and 50 points, while he is also the only NBA player to score 100 points in one game.


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An old interview posted on YouTube displays his views and disagreements about the ‘GOAT’ title in basketball.

The interviewer questioned Wilt about what bothered him when people talked about Michael Jordan, as being the greatest player of all time.

Chamberlain said, “Well, we all have our opinions, and I don’t think that you know what he’s doing, what he’s done, and how the game is going today that he’s better than Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Bill Russell, a number of people.”

Was Chamberlain better than Michael Jordan?

Wilt Chamberlain did not hold back as the interviewer followed up with another question: “Greatest scorer of all time? Would you even give him that?”

Wilt explained his position on the matter, saying, “What people don’t remember was that my first seven years, I scored a lot of points. Then I stopped scoring on my own volition. I tried to do other things, I was asked to do other things.”

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“And that’s what I did for the last seven years. It wasn’t about points to me, it was about trying to do other things. So when they compare me with Michael – Michael’s averaging 31 points for his lifetime.”

“I averaged about 30 points for a lifetime – but I stopped scoring. Like I’m saying if I had continued to score, I would probably be averaging 40 points for my whole lifetime.


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ORLANDO, FL – 1993: Shaquille O’Neal #32 of the Orlando Magic poses with Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls prior to playing an NBA game circ 1993 at the TD WAterhouse Centre in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees 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 1993 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Wilt makes an impressive comparison between the percentage of shots attempted. And explains how it should factor into the ‘GOAT’ debate while comparing two players from different eras to each other.

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He also draws attention to their different positions on the court, as both Wilt and Jordan performed different duties. However, Wilt asserts that he upholds all the respect in the world for Michael Jordan as a fellow professional.


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Who do you think is the GOAT? Let us know in the comments.


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Shalom Saldanha

37 articles

Shalom Saldanha is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his journalism degree, he has previously worked as a sports corresspondent for India Shorts/Business Upturn. A Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bucks fan, Shalom primarily got into the sport after discovering that he shared a mutual love for Arsenal with the Greek Freak.