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Wilt Chamberlain, statistically, is the greatest individual basketball player ever

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/22/2012 Category: Sports
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,366 times Debate No: 24399
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
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Resolution: Based on Statistics, Wilt Chamberlain is the greatest individual professional basketball player ever. First round is for acceptance only.


I accept.

I guess this debate will be decided totally on how we quantify greatest and what statistics fall within the criteria of that value.
Debate Round No. 1


Since I did say this was about the greatest INDIVIDUAL player, championships can't be counted in this debate. Well, here we go. Wilt Chamberlain is statistically the greatest individual basketball player because Wilt is the only player to have been once a league leader in the major 3 basketball stats. He led the league in assists once, led the league in scoring 7 times, and led the league in rebounds 11 times. Wilt averaged more points in a season than anyone else, averaging 50.4 PPG in 1962, and scoring the most points in a season with over 4,000 points. Wilt is the career leader in total rebounds, with 23,924. He also has the highest career total for rebounds a game, with 22.9 total rebounds a game.


I will first post a rebuttal and then follow up with my constructive.

Rebuttal contention 1: Rebounds do not matter.

While it is a known fact that Wilt holds the record for overall most rebounds in a career that does not apply to this debate. Because Wilt played Center it was easier for him to get rebounds. If this debate were who is the best Center in the NBA then this would apply. But because we are talking about greatest PLAYER of all time we have to judge based on more fair criteria. Would it be fair to judge the best overall NFL player on rushing yards or touch down passes? No, because that does not apply to all positions on the field. To accurately choose who is the best player overall we have to use overall stats.

Contention 2: Career stats trump seasonal stats.

While seasonal stats should be taken into some sort of consideration greater attention must be drawn to career stats for the sole fact that the resolution says ever. Ever encompasses entire players careers which should be the main focus. Also logically it makes more sense. Anyone can have an awesome season or shine once in there life but as many people would agree greatest involves consistency. Whenever we practice or strive to be the best, were striving to do that consistently.

Now on to my constructive

Seeing as that my BOP involves me showing that there is someone greater than wilt chamberlain I will choose Michael Jordan.

Contention 1: Greatest can be equated to most valuable

When deciding who is the greatest were going to have to look at MVP awards. This award is chosen by a hand picked panel of non-biased sports analysts.[1] They choose the person who contributed the most and was therefore the GREATEST of that season. In the 15 seasons Michael Jordan played he had 5 seasonal MVP awards making his win ratio .33. Wilt chamberlain won 4 times in the 14 seasons he played making his win ration .28. Significantly lower than Michael Jordan.

The same can be said for NBA finals and NBA all star games. In the 6 finals Michael Jordan attended he won the Finals MVP award 6/6 times making it a 100% win ratio. Where as Wilt won it 2/5 times. A .4 win ratio. Michael Jordan participated in 14 all star games winning the MVP 3 times. A .21 win ratio. Wilt however won once in the 13 all star games he attended. .07 win ratio.

Contention 2: When the tough gets going.

We must analyze who is better in the clutch and who is better consistently to accurately display who is the greatest. My opponent may point out that at times Wilt had some high scoring games but those few incidents do not prove how great Wilt is they actually prove the opposite because it shows how inconsistent he is. Anyone can have shining moments but if your shining moments is ever single time you step on the paint your truly the greatest.

We have to discuss the playoffs because the level of play is a cut above normal play in terms of difficulty. When you look at greatest be sure to understand that whoever can play better in harder difficulty setting is truly greater.

Wilt in the season career: 30.07ppg 22.9reb 4.4ast 54.0%fg
Wilt in the playoffs career: 22.5ppg 24.5reb 4.2ast 46.5%fg

MJ in the season career: 30.12ppg 6.2reb 5.3ast 49.7%fg
MJ in the playoffs career: 33.45ppg 6.4reb 5.7ast 48.7%fg

NBA Playoff runs over 30ppg:
Wilt Chamberlain: 4
Michael Jordan: 12

NBA Playoff runs over 32ppg:
Wilt Chamberlain: 4
Michael Jordan: 8

NBA Playoff runs over 34ppg:
Wilt Chamberlain: 3
Michael Jordan: 7

As you can see Wilt truly lost his touch when he got to the playoffs. He wasn't able to maintain his level of play against higher caliber players. Michael on the other hand stepped up his game in almost every facet when it came time for the playoffs. When the going got tough Michael got going, while Wilt took a step down.

When it comes to consistency No one is better than Michael Jordan. He is #1 all time in Points per game. Even though he is barely ahead of wilt chamberlain, 30.12 compared to 30.1, he is still better. Michael is renown for being the most clutch player of all time. When his team needs him to come through he does. Michael Jordan has the most known game winning shots of any player in NBA history. [2][3]

Contention 3: In scoring, Michael takes the cake.

When it comes to basketball no stat is greater than scoring. This ultimately is the biggest thing that decides games who wins and who loses.

Michael Jordan is #1 all time in points per game and Michael Jordan is #3 in all time total points, Wilt is #2 all time in points per game and Wilt is #4 all time in total points. Michael has a higher free throw percentage, more assists, most seasons leading the league in scoring, highest scoring average, and highest playoff scoring average.[2]

When it comes to scoring Wilt is simply outclassed.

Debate Round No. 2


Reply to Rebuttal Contention 1: Then it wouldn't be fair to count up MJ's Rebounds or steals, because they are mainly guard-specific stats. This pretty much means we can only base on who was the better scorer, since blocks weren't around in Wilt's day, which it wouldn't count anyways because you would contend it was too guard specific.
Reply to Rebuttal Contention 2: Wilt had a model of excellent consistency in scoring, by averaging 30 and above his first 8 seasons. Jordan didn't get his first 30 point season until his 3rd season

Reply to Contention 1: This isn't a valid argument, since, back in Wilt's day, MVPs were chosen by players, and since players didn't like Wilt too much, a lot of. The time, they just gave the Award to Bill Russell, or, in one case, Oscar Robertson. So you can't contend with the MVP Amounts. Also, Finals MVP Is a matter of team dominance, because you can't win the Finals MVP unless your team wins. And third, nobody tries too hard in all-star games. It is an exhibition event for the most part. Those MVPs shouldn't count.

Reply to Contention 2: I do concede that Jordan did better in the playoffs, but Wilt wasn't even in the position most of the time to make a game-winning shot.

Reply to Contention 3: Well then, Wilt and Jordon, per game, are separated by a few hundredths of a point, so PPG isn't going to help to much, as a few hundredths is the most minor difference in these terms. Michael played more games than Wilt, so his points are higher.

My contention FG Pct.: Scoring can be a useless stat sometimes depending on the selfishness of the player. This stat proves Wilt is a better scorer. For their careers, MJ had a .497 FG Pct. Chamberlain had a .540 FG Pct. And, in 1972-1973, Wilt set the record for field goal Pct that hasn't been broken with a .727 FG Pct.

2nd contention is Minutes: Wilt led the league in minutes for 8 years. MJ only led the league in minutes 3 times. This also brings up another thing. Wilt never fouled out. And this counts, because at center, you're supposed to foul out a lot. Not Wilt. He was a clean player.

3rd Contention is Consistent Scoring Streaks: You say consistency trumps all, Wilt was the most consistent. Wilt holds the record with most 50 point games in a row with 7, most 40 point games in a row with 14, most 30 point games in a row with 65, and most 20 point games in a row with 126. Wilt had 45 50 point games in a season. Michael Jordan has had only 39 (including playoffs) for his CAREER. It is clear Wilt was the better scorer.



Rebuttel contention 1: He conceded this point

Contention 2: My opponent misinterpreted my stance and I think the argument in general. I was merely arguing that we should look at career achievements more heavily than seasonal achievements. the point still stands until my opponent can avoid a straw-man.

Constructive contention 1: My opponent conceded my point but said it is not a fair judging criteria. He just makes the blanket claim that they were chosen differently "back in wilt's day" and provides no evidence to prove this. Until some valid evidence toward your claim is brought up my contention and point is still valid. I will concede the point on Final MVP's however because it is a matter of winning in the first place. So in terms of final MVP's both have a 100% win rate. However You can't just say nobody tries in all-star games and call it an argument. Obviously people try and people win awards for doing so. Michael's win ratio was larger period.

Contention 2: My opponent conceded this judging criteria and did not even argue to why it shouldnt be taken into consideration. I win on this point and I will further bring it up in voters.

Contention 3: His only argument is that its a few hundredths of a difference in points per game and that it doesn't matter. But obviously this does matter when your talking about the GREATEST PLAYER in basketball history. How can you be the greatest in ppg if someones is higher than yours even if it is a minute difference. And no my friend it wasn't because Michael played more games because this is average ppg.

And now on to my opponents new case (even though a fair debate would involve you bringing these points up in the first round.)

On his first contention he's talking about field goal percentage but is ignoring the point he conceded in my very first contention. Michael played shooting guard which meant he shot more often and in more stress heavy situations. comparing the fg of a center and shooting guard is ridiculous "Comparing field goal percentage between a big man who shoots a lot, and a shooting guard who shoots a lot is counter productive"[1] Also it should be noted that when it came to the play offs Michael's field goal was higher than Wilts. When the going got tough it seems Wilt gave up. This doesn't prove Wilt was a better scorer maybe that he was a tad bit more accurate but not a better scorer.

On his second contention I don't see how minutes has anything to do with being a greater player and he failed to bring this up. Also holding saying how wilt held the record more times is a logical fallacy. We have no idea in respect to the competition at the time whether one was better than the other. Even if Michael held it less times it may have been against tougher players. The fouling point is in direct contradiction with my very first point about position respective statistics.

On his 3rd He makes one crucial error. My whole point on consistency was career consistency which he completely contradicts throughout his entire point. Like I mentioned before anyone can have a great season. But the greatest would be the greatest throughout his entire career. The fact is Michael had the higher average points per game and has more all time scoring records than wilt. Michael has 24 All time NBA scoring records while wilt has 18.[1] Case in point. More scoring records clearly leads to the better scorer.


Just a reminder to my opponent, no new arguments may be brought up in the final round only new evidence.
Debate Round No. 3


daytonanerd forfeited this round.


Arguments extended-

My opponent forfeited. Vote Con/ Michael Jordan; the greatest individual Basketball player ever, Statistically.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by daytonanerd 4 years ago
I meant assists and steals at the beginning of round 3.
Posted by daytonanerd 4 years ago
But I said INDIVIDUALLY the greatest. Team plays no part in individualism, so championships can't count.
Posted by iTzDanneh 4 years ago
Infact I could argue it was more his fault considering he played center
Posted by iTzDanneh 4 years ago
I understand that its not solely championships, However there is an element of championships because wilt was 1/5 of his team and he new that. Coming off his championship losses its not like he said "Yea my team screwed that one up for me it was all there fault." No. He knew that he had a part of those losses
Posted by daytonanerd 4 years ago
Well, buddy, you're going to have a tough time. Because you can't truly judge on championships, since I said the best INDIVIDUAL Player, and this is based on only statistics, you're going to have to put up a great debate in this one.
Posted by iTzDanneh 4 years ago
Even though this seems like fact debate I will accept
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