The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Michael Jordan is the greatest player of all time

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/15/2013 Category: Sports
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,560 times Debate No: 34806
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (2)




Michael Jordan is the greatest NBA player of all time. To make the debate simple, pick one player to compare to Michael Jordan.


I will be arguing in favor of Wilt Chamberlain. I will allow pro to make his case.
Debate Round No. 1


First, I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate.

I will first tell you all of Wilt's achievements. Wilt Chamberlain was a great player. He was born on August 21st, 1936 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Wilt died on October 12, 1999 in Bel Air, California at the age of 63. He stands 7 ft 1 in(2.16m) and weighs 275 lb (125kg). Wilt did not play basketball in his early years, saying it was a game for sissies. He was very good track and field athlete despite being very tall. Wilt entered the NBA in 1959, and retired in 1973. Wilt holds 72 NBA records and 63 of them was held by himself. Some of the records he set were: Most Points Per Game in a season (50.4 during 1961-62 season), Most Points scored in a game (100 vs. New York Knicks on March 2,1962), and only center to lead the league in total assist. Wilt averaged 30.1 points (Tied with the most points per game with Michael Jordan), 22.9 total rebounds (The highest rebound average), and 4.4 assist (high amount of assists for center). With a field goal percentage of 54%, he is a very efficient shooter. He has a low free throw percentage of 51%, but as being a big, tall, center, it is clearly understandable why he was a bad free throw shooter. Some of Wilt's many awards were: 2 time NBA champion, 1 time finals MVP, 4 time MVP, 13 time NBA all-star, 1 time NBA All-Star Game MVP, NBA rookie of the year, 7 times scoring champion, led the league once in total assist, and a 11 times rebounding champion. His 50.4 PPG season was dead amazing as he also once scored 100 points in a game that season. He was an excellent defensive and a offensive player with high career overall PER of 26.1. Isn't Wilt the greatest after all these things I stated so far? Wilt Chamberlain, though, have some few flaws that clearly shows why Jordan is better.

If this debate was about who had bigger numbers, records, and achievements, Wilt would simply win this debate. But the thing is that we are not debating about those things, we are debating about the greatness and skill. Michael Jordan was simply great. Michael had amazing and spectacular dunks and shots at times when the Bulls were down and was losing by little. Michael won the defensive player of year once, and for a guard, he is the only one to do so. Wilt should have won many of the defensive player of the year awards, but in Wilt's time the award did not even exist. In fact many of things were different in Wilt's time than Jordan's. I will explain right here, about Wilt's flaws that Jordan didn't have. Wilt played the NBA from 1959 to 1973. On the other hand, Jordan played from 1984 to 1993, 1995-1998 and also from 2001-2003. Basically, Wilt played in the 60's and the while Jordan played during the 80's and the 90's. Wilt's fans will argue how Wilt got 100 points in a game and have a big stats and Jordan's fans will say about the different era, failure to win a lot of title, and less and weaker competition. I have believed at first that Jordan was the best, than researched a bit more to realized Wilt was better, than came back and realized Jordan was definitely better. In the season 1960-1961, around the time Wilt entered the league, average player height was 6ft 5.5in, average points per game was 118.1, average field goals attempts per team was, 8642. In the season 1970-1971, towards the end of Wilt's career, average height was 6ft, average points per game was 112.4, average field goal attempts were 8038. Rebounding number were also greater, averaging about 5000 a season as field goal percentage was about 42%. In the 80's and the 90's, average height was about a inch greater, points per game was about 10 less than the 60's, field goal percentages was about 47%, field goal attempts were 800 less per team than the 60's, and rebounds were about 1500 less than the 60's. Also, in the 60's, the league was about 15 teams as in the 80's there was about 25 teams. Failing to win many championships in a smaller league is disappointing, and I believe Wilt is like the Karl Malone of the 90's. I understand Boston and L.A. was the powerhouse of the 60's but Wilt's team possessed a good enough record and players to win more championships. Wilt also had lesser spectacular but still spectacular playoff stats, averaging 22.5 PPG, 24.5 RPG, and 4.2 APG. Still, Wilt seems better than Jordan so far of what I said in the debate. But the greatest thing in the debate, is the minutes Wilt played and the amount of shots he took. Wilt played about a whole game while Jordan played about 40. 48 to 40. In 8 minutes, things can change. Also, Wilt shot 22.5 field goals while Jordan shot 21.5 shots per game. This is about similar but Wilt had ups and downs. For the first 7 seasons, Wilt averaged 39 points per game, led the league in scoring 7 straight times, and shot about 31 shots per game. In his last 7 seasons, he averaged, 20.7 PPG, never led the league in scoring, never got more than 27.3 PPG in a season, and shot about 14 shots per game. Also, his field goal percentage increased in the final 7 years, making most of his shots. All of Wilt's good scoring years were when he shot 30 shots per game. Jordan for his whole career, had a consistent 30 PPG and a consistent 20 shots per game. Per 36 minutes, Jordan has about 28.3 points per game, 5.9 rebounds per game, 4.9 assists per game, 21.5 shots per game and a field goal percentage of 49.7 while Wilt has about 23.6 points per game, 18 rebounds per game, 3.5 assists per game, 17.7 shots per game and a field goal percentage of 54%. If both players shot 20 shots in a 36 minute game, Jordan averages 26.3 points per game while Wilt averages 26.7 points per game. Because of the different era, Wilt should average about 24 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 assist during the era of Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan also had a higher PER than Wilt Chamberlain (27.9 to 26.1). Because of the different era, minutes played, and the number of shots took by Wilt Chamberlain, he is not as good as Michael Jordan, who I believe is the greatest NBA player of all time.


I would also like to thank con for making this debate topic.

I'll start off by reiterating some things that Con has already said. Wilt Chamberlain holds 72 NBA records...72! Many of which most players agree will never be broken (100 points in a game, 55 rebounds, etc, 50+ ppg average). The fact that he was so dominant attests to his greatness as a player.

Attesting to his greatness is the fact that he was so versatile. In different seasons he led the league in scoring, rebounding, assists (the only center to ever lead the league in assists), and if they would have record blocks, most experts agree he would have led the league in this category too.

Now let's look at some of Michael Jordan's accomplishments. Michael Jordan's best seasons ever, he averaged 37.1 points a game. Wilt Chamberlain beat this four different times, by as much as 13 more points per game
on average! Wilt's highest scoring seasons are in order, 50.4 ppg, 44.8 pg, 38.4 ppg, and 37.6 ppg. To claim the Michael Jordan, who is best known for his scoring, is greater than Wilt Chamberlain is obviously preposterous. Another thing that Jordan fans bring up is Michael Jordan's high field goal percentage, which stands at around 50%. However, Jordan's best season he was shooting .539 which is below the career average of Chamerblain! Wilt Chamberlain made over 72% of his shots in one season! It is clear who was the more dominant and "great" player.

Now I will refute some of my opponent's points.

My opponent's first attempt to discredit Wilt's greatness is the claim that when Wilt entered the league, average player height was 6'5.5. Surely, as time went on, the players got taller and therefore Wilt played in a smaller league?


The average height in 2008, just 5 years ago was 6'6.9. So you're telling me that in 40 years, players on average, are only an inch taller? This is because on an NBA roster you have 12 active players, and around 15 players total. Only 2 or three of these players need to be centers, or 7 footers. Most of these spots are filled up with guards and small forwards, between 6ft and 6'6. Obviously there will be more small players than large. 7 foot players. The "average height" statistic holds no weight here and doesn't accurately depict anything. The fact is there were other big players in the league, including Swede Halbrook, who at 7'3 was even taller than Wilt Chamberlain was. So my opponent's attempts at claiming Wilt Chamberlain dominated due to his size is unfounded.

My opponent also tries to discredit Wilt by stating that he played more minutes. But in fact - this is a further testament to his greatness! The fact that he played basically entire games shows that he was not only more dominant than Jordan, but more durable. Also take into account that the rules were much more relaxed back then and players like Wilt Chamberlain receive "hard fouls" a lot more frequently.

I would also like to point out that my opponent's claims that in Jordan's era, what Wilt "should" average are strictly opinion and are in no way fact or even verifiable. I would also like to point that Wilt Chamberlain averaged more points without the benefit of the three-point line, which Jordan every shot, Jordan was capable of scoring 1.5x as much as Wilt did, yet Wilt still scored more than Jordan.

I would like to reiterate the initial motion that Wilt Chamberlain is the greatest player of all time, and that there are literally no stats that back up my opponent's claims to the contrary.

Debate Round No. 2


I would thank my opponent for making some great points in this debate.

Yes, Wilt averaged 50 points once in a season. Note that his 50 points season, he attempted 40 field goals. I heard people say Kobe Bryant is a ball hog all the time and his highest field goal attempts per game in a season was only 27.2. Most of the center back then was 3-6 inches shorter than Chamberlain. Yes, height doesn't effect the whole game of basketball. But, it still effects some small parts. It would bring down his points per game averages from 50 to 45. Wilt was truly a ball hog and played with small kids.

Yes, Wilt was truly a ball hog. Not for his whole career though. As I said in the last round, his first 7 years, was the scoring years. He scored about 40 points those years. He shot 40 shots every day. During these years, Wilt did not excel as a passer. Then, he started to pass the ball. For two years, he passed with a assist average of 7.8 and 8.6 and yet played the WHOLE game. WHOLE 48 MINUTES AND ONLY 8 ASSISTS????? Yea, only that. After those two years, his rest of the career wasn't as exciting. 16 Points, 4 assist, and 18 rebounds was still good, but not the usual Wilt that wowed many people. He still played about the WHOLE GAME. Wilt was the greatest ball hog for 7 years. He then turned and became a point guard like center for two years, then had 3 years of normal star center like seasons, and ended his career with two 14 point seasons. By the way, Wilt led the league in TOTAL ASSIST. Oscar Robertson had 2 more assists than Wilt every game.

Wilt shot 70% one season. Yep, I knew that. Wilt is a center. Jordan is a shooting guard. Now, centers get rebounds, shoots efficients but fails to shoot free throws. Shooting guards shoot good, shoot 3's good, shoot free throws good, and gets 3-6 assist all the time. Centers shoot CLOSE, guards shoot FARAWAY. Guards do shoot close sometimes. And Michael shot 2's, not 3's. He attempted 1.7 and 2.5 in the regular season and the playoffs. He made 0.5 and 0.8 of those per game. Michael was good at 3's but did not shot many of these. Therefore, 3's do not affect his points average that much. Also, guards shoot faraway shots more than centers do. Every center you see shoots 48-52% and every guard you see shoots 40-46%. Now as a guard, shooting 50% (Jordan's career average) is excellently amazing. While on the other hand, Wilt's 53% field goal percentage is good for centers but with only 3% percent difference between a guard and a center, Jordan clearly has done a great job shooting as a guard. Jordan has shot 54% about 3 times in his career. That his higher than 5 of Wilt's percentage. A guard simply getting higher field goal percentage even if they only have higher percentage once, especially doing that to what we say is the greatest center of all time, is just... just.... plain amazing! Now, Wilt's 72% field goal percentage is spectacular. The top 3 of the field goal percentage season goes like, Wilt, Chamberlain, and Tyson Chandler. Wilt 72% year, was his last year. He shot 7 shots only. Okay, he shoots 7 shots and he's a 7 foot 1 inch center... Let me guess, he makes 5 of them. He average 14 points, 18 rebounds, and 4 assist. Wilt shot 7 shots. The less shots you take, it is easier to get a higher field goal percentage.

Simply, Jordan is the greatest NBA player that has ever set foot on NBA.


I will execute this round by rebutting my opponent's points one by one.

Wilt Dominated Because He Was Tall

My opponent has claimed that Wilt Chamberlain dominated because he was tall. While height is certainly an advantage, the point must be brought up that it really wasn't back then. Let's look at other 7 footers who Chamberlain played against.
  • Swede Halbrook, who was actually taller than Wilt at 7'3, shot .360 percent with 6.3 points per game and 6.2 rebound per game in '61-'62, stats so poor that he didn't last more than 2 NBA seasons.
  • Walter Dukes, who was 7 ft, shot .396 the same year, with 9.4 points per game and 10.4 rebounds.

These figures are obviously no where near Chamberlain's stats, disproving my opponent's claims that he dominated due to height. The fact was that Wilt Chamberlain was simply more skilled than the other players.

Wilt Was A Ball Hog

My opponent claimed that only 8 assists per game was not impressive because Wilt Chamberlain played the entire game. However, what my opponent seems to overlook is that Wilt Chamberlain was a CENTER! It was not his job to pass to ball, so stating that 8 assists per game is not impressive is simply preposterous. Now let's look at the most minutes per game in recent years. Monta Ellis average just over 41 points a game in '09-'10. Now of course, Monta Ellis is a point guard, who's job is to distribute the ball, so surely playing all but 7 minutes of the game, he averaged more than Wilt Chamberlain's 8 assists? Wrong. Ins 41 minutes, Monta Ellis averaged only 5.4 assists per game, as a point guard! Trying to discredit Wilt for his minutes per game is unfounded. In actuality, the fact that he played so long as a center is simply amazing!

Wilt's Scoring Went Down As His Career Went On

It is true that during the end of his career, Wilt's shots per game went down as his scoring went up. But I would like to point out how his team benefited from this. During the 1966 year, Wilt was actually asked to focus on defense by his coach Alex Harnum. This is because the Sixers had players like Hal Greer and Billy Cunningham (future Hall of Famers) who could now score in place of Wilt, and he didn't have to carry the load as much. This is why Wilt's scoring went down. The Sixers began this season 46-4 and finished 68-13. This same season Wilt still won MVP as his rebounding and assists improved! This is not a strike against Wilt, but a testament to his greatness! He sacrificed his own scoring for the benefit of the team. Frankly speaking, Wilt showed that he did not have to score 30 points a game to dominate. The same can not be said for Michael Jordan!

So after striking down my opponent's points, let's re-evaluate the facts. Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain have virtually the same points per game average over their careers. However, it must be noted that Wilt Chamberlain played less games than Michael Jordan and also shot a higher percentage! Simply put, he was a better scoring than Jordan and has four seasons where he averaged more than Jordan's best season. Additionally, he was the best rebounder ever in the NBA, would have shattered every blocking record had there been blocks recorded in his team, has the record for most assists by a center, and the list goes on! Additionally. Wilt Chamberlain is the only player in the Hall of Fame to have never fouled out of a game![1] Michael Jordan was simply not as dominant or great of a player as Wilt Chamberlain. 72 NBA records is a feat no one will ever get close to, including Jordan.

Frankly speaking Jordan has no case against Wilt. His stats are not comparable overall. Now while my opponent may argue that comparing stats like rebounding and blocks is not fair because of the difference in positions, but I'll say this. If this were true, then we shouldn't be able to compare assists between a guard and a center. But we can! Because Wilt played an all-around game while Jordan did not. I ask the voters, how can the "greatest" only be "great" at scoring? Wilt was great because he was all-around great, and holds a record in EVERY statistical category! With this evidence brought forward, I ask for voters to dismiss the motion.


Debate Round No. 3


This is the last round of the debate so I will finish by pointing some facts I haven't yet and finish this debate.

1. Wilt was taller than most centers at that time. Having taller height sometimes does not help a player like some players you mention. Though, players who is tall certainly does have an advantage a few times when the player uses the advantage well. Many tall players failed to be good, but for ones that were good, height certainly was an advantage.
2. Wilt stopped scoring and started passing is the only reason he has 8 assist in one season. And certainly everyone knows Monta Ellis is a ball hog. Monta Ellis shoots and never passes. Wilt later never shot and always passed. Every center can ditch scoring and pass many times, it's that they choose to SHOOT and NOT PASS. Plus that is what centers was told to do: shoot the ball.
3. Wilt was a great center. Jordan was a great guard. THE BEST SHOOTING CENTER IN THE LEAGUE HAS HIGHER SHOOTING PERCENTAGE THAN THE BEST SHOOTING GUARD IN THE LEAGUE. Average field goal percentages-
Center: 50%, Shooting Guard: 45%.

Seasons Played
Wilt 14 - Jordan 15
Wilt 4- Jordan 5 (let's call that a tie since jordan played one more season)
Alls star selection
WIlt 13 - Jordan 14 (tie)
All NBA first team
Wilt 7 - Jordan 10 (guess people back then thought Russell was better) Jordan wins
Scoring titles:
WIlt 7 - Jordan 10- Jordan wins

Jordan played with more good teams and players (you gotta admit 60's in NBA was boring)

Jordan has higher PER than Wilt.
Jordan has slightly more points than Chamberlain in PPG career.
Jordan has more MVP, All Star MVP, and Finals MVP.

Note: Look at Oscar Robertson and Bill Russell- Everyone in the 60's played the whole games
60's vs 90's
Pace: Faster pace vs slower pace-advantage: 60's
Height: Smaller height vs taller height: advantage 60's
Competition: 8-15 teams vs 20-25 teams: advantage 60's
Rebounds: 60's get higher advantage due to more misses and more shots
Assists: 90's since assists were harder to get in the 60's (i have to admit)
Points: More shots, fast pace, obviously the 60's
Minutes Played: 60's superstars played the whole game vs 90s superstars played 38 minutes! - You play what is in trend right now like slower pace and less minutes not do the unthinkable.
LOL these were all the things Wilt was good at!

I gotta admit, those 72 records are amazing!
The thing is when Jordan averages 30 points, he shoots 30 points and never gets like a lot of point.

Well, great debate with you. This is my first debate, so I have no idea how this will turn out. Thank you so much for accepting this debate. Since this is the last round, just point out things you missed and basically summarized the whole debate very short. I do, though, believe Wilt is a great player. He is number two on my list. But Jordan is forever!! Note that I'm not one of those Jordan bandwagons. I hope I win!!!!


To end this debate, I will refute a few of my opponent's last comments and then make my closing remarks.

Wilt got assists because he stopped scoring

This is true. However, it does not take away from Wilt's greatness. As I said last round, Wilt stopped scoring as much because he was asked to by his coach to get others involved more and focus more on defense. As such, his scoring went down, but his assists, rebounding, and blocks went up. Mainly even though his shots went down every other stat of his improved. I certainly do not think this is a negative. Most importantly, his team won more games! They had a dominant season, only losing four games through the first half of the season. That is downright incredible, and attests to Wilt's greatness. He was able to put aside his own personal success for the success of his team.

My opponent also claims that centers were told to shoot the ball, however, this is not true. At that time, center's were mostly used for blocking and rebounding. It wasn't until Wilt that there were any scoring center's in the league; he actually revolutionized the position[1].

Center's have higher shooting percentages than guards

This is also true, However, when you look at the difference between the shooting percentage of the players and their competition, you'll see the difference. Jordan's highest field goal percentage for a season was .539 - great, but doable. Just last year, Steve Nash had a season field goal percentage of .532, which is just under Jordan's. And in 2006, Tony Parker had a season field goal percentage of .548![2]. Again, Jordan's shooting was great, but still doable. Meanwhile, Wilt's highest field goal percentage for a season (.727) has never been broken, or even come close to! Also take into account at that time players actually had lower percentages than the more efficient scorers of today. Wilt's rival and the most accomplished NBA player of all time, Bill Russell, shot just .440![3]

Closing Remarks

I won't go into MVP awards or NBA Finals wins, because neither of those things determine greatness. MVP awards at that time were voted for by the players, and many did not like Wilt, both for his dominance on the court and his personality off of it (remember, this is the guy who claims to have slept with over 20,000 women).Meanwhile, Jordan was basically the face of the NBA for his time at a time where MVP was voted for by the media, not the players. Of course Jordan would win. He was marketed everywhere by the NBA and Nike, and still remains a popular brand even today. Likewise final win determine on how good your team is, which is why players like LeBron couldn't win in Cleveland despite being the best player of our time.

So then, what exactly determines greatness? I make the case that it lies in two factors
1. Stats
2. Impact on the game

So let's examine these factors.

Stats - Basically for a player to be "the greatest" implies that they have a level of talent and performance that will never be seen again or topped.

Let's look at the 5 main statistical categories recorded by the league as an evaluation of a player's performance: points, assists, steals, rebounds, blocks
  • Jordan's field goal percentage has been topped many times by Wilt Chamberlain. Of course they played different positions, but as I pointed out earlier, it has also been topped by Tony Parker, who is also a guard like Jordan. Wilt Chamberlain's field goal percentage has never been topped.
  • Jordan's points per game has also been topped 4 times by Wilt. Wilt's points per game has also never been topped. Also note that guards usually have the highest points per game in the league.
  • Jordan averaged less assists than Wilt, even though assists is a category dominated almost exclusively by guards. Jordan's assists per game have been topped many times and were not that impressive. Wilt's assists per game has never been topped by a big man
  • Steals were not recorded in Wilt's era, but Jordan's career steals and steals per game have all been topped.
  • Rebounds, Jordan's rebounding was not that impressive, and have been topped by other guards. Wilt holds the record for most rebounds in a game, most career rebounds, and most rebounds per game. NBA analysts agree that none of those records will ever be broken.
  • Blocks were also not recorded in Wilt's era, but most experts agree that Wilt would have shattered current NBA blocking records

With this, it is obvious that while Jordan simply put up great, but attainable numbers, Wilt put up outstanding and unattainable numbers. Additionally, the only stats that are really impressive by Jordan are his scoring numbers (points per game, field goal percentage)! However, as I pointed out, there are 5 main categories. To call someone the greatest for only being a great scorer is simply not factual and ignores the other aspects of basketball. Wilt played great all-around basketball, getting points, blocks, rebounds, and even assists! While doing much more on the court than Jordan did, Wilt still managed to put up better or comparable scoring numbers.

Impact- As I pointed out earlier, Wilt had a profound impact on the game of basketball. He revolutionized the center position into a formidable offensive weapon. He set unprecedented records. But also, he changed the game forever, creating " The Chamberlain rules"[4]. The NBA actually changed four rules to try and stop Wilt from being so dominant! If this doesn't attest to his greatness, I don't know what does! So what impact did Jordan have besides the obvious popularization of the game of basketball? Not much. He obviously wasn't so dominant that the NBA felt that they needed to change rules to combat him. And he didn't (by himself) set any unbreakable records, either. In fact his most impressive accomplishment was winning 6 titles, a feat which of course, had more to do with the team he had around him. But even that record was broken by another player, Bill Russell. who almost double Jordan's number of titles with 11.

With this, it is clear that overall, Wilt Chamberlain was certainly the greatest basketball player that ever lived. While the case can be made that Michael Jordan was the greatest scorer who ever lived, basketball is not just about scoring. It is about defense: getting blocks and steals; it is about rebounding, and it is about getting the ball to your team mates. While Wilt scored just as much as Jordan, with their career ppg's being only .05 apart, Wilt dominanted Jordan in ever other category, including assists. And none of them were close. I urge you to vote against the notion that Michael Jordan is the greater basketball player, and thank my opponent for a great debate.

Thank you.


Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by ClassicRobert 5 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Crappy RFD from SlaterJ23. If he changes it, shoot me a message and I'll remove my counter.
Vote Placed by SlaterJ23 5 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Stats dont win championships see moneyball. Mj is the best