Wilt Chamberlain Wasn’t Impressed With Shaquille O’Neal at First: “He Could Be Taught to Play a Whole Lot Better”

Published 12/13/2021, 10:30 AM EST
MCDONOUGH, GEORGIA – APRIL 07: Shaquille O’Neal speaks during Pepsi Stronger Together and CTG Foundation Atlanta Law Enforcement Press Conference on April 07, 2021 in McDonough, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Pepsi Stronger Together)


Shaquille O’Neal has carved his name in the world of basketball through his outstanding performances. Additionally, he has appeared in a number of films. Currently, he is a well-known analyst at ESPN and a famous businessman. However, there were some people who didn’t like his playing style in the ’90s.

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Among them was Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain, who passed several comments regarding his shape, game, and performance on the court.

During an interview, Chamberlain spoke about how O’Neal’s physical appearance is affecting his game. 

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Chamberlain believes that Shaquille O’Neal is putting something on the table as a celebrity.

During O’Neal’s NBA career, he has received many accolades, including four NBA titles.

Chamberlain gave an interview when his book “Who’s Running the Asylum?” came out in which he spoke about O’Neal’s playing style.

The host asked what his thoughts were on some players that were playing that night, and the first name that came up was Shaquille O’Neal. Chamberlain that O’Neal was a big tough man.

Yet when asked if he liked him, Chamberlain responded that he liked him quite a bit and that he brought something to the table as a celebrity. However, when asked about O’Neal as a player. Chamberlain says that his size makes him extremely agile, and he can hire a tutor to help him improve.

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Chamberlain explains it by saying that if he can manage his shape a bit better he can be a great player. He mentioned an instance from the last quarter of the game to illustrate the point.

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In an interview with Gary Miller of ESPN in 1997, he said the following about the Lakers superstar:

Shaq gets away with what I believe is murder. I think when you dip your shoulder and your run over the top of a guy and the guy is laying on the floor. You know you’re getting away with something. Shaq is allowed to score some points that maybe he wouldn’t get.

Let us know what you think about this interview and Shaq’s performance in the NBA from the 90s.

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Anshika Rai

163 articles

Anshika Rai is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. She is currently pursuing her bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Anshika has been following NBA for many years now.

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