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Most Dominant athlete: Wayne Gretzky vs Wilt Chamberlain

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01-19-2013, 04:48 PM
  #1
VerySuperFamous
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Most Dominant athlete: Wayne Gretzky vs Wilt Chamberlain

Gretzky was the most dominant hockey player in the history of the game, and I'm sure everyone should know who he was. But Wilt Chamberlain is debated as the greatest of all time for basketball. It seems like an interesting discussion.

Gretzky holds 61 NHL records. Chamberlain holds 71 official NBA records.

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01-19-2013, 05:12 PM
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Easily Chamberlain.

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01-19-2013, 05:13 PM
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vadim sharifijanov
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there is no argument for gretzky being any lower than second best of all time.

most consider wilt no better than second best all time in his sport, but some consider him as low as sixth (behind jordan, russell, kareem, magic, and bird). split the difference and wilt is probably 3rd/4th depending on how you rate kareem's freakish longevity and far better playoff career.

i don't see how this is close, unless we are only talking statistically.

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01-19-2013, 05:15 PM
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Chamberlain. 100 pts in a game is ridiculous.

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01-19-2013, 05:21 PM
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vecens24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
there is no argument for gretzky being any lower than second best of all time.

most consider wilt no better than second best all time in his sport, but some consider him as low as sixth (behind jordan, russell, kareem, magic, and bird). split the difference and wilt is probably 3rd/4th depending on how you rate kareem's freakish longevity and far better playoff career.

i don't see how this is close, unless we are only talking statistically.
As someone who writes about both basketball and hockey, it's Gretzky.

Wilt played in an era where he was one of the few athletic big men. His physical advantage over everyone was so great that he's comparable to someone like Newsy Lalonde or Frank Nighbor in the early openings of the sport. I mean, we don't consider someone like Joe Malone (another statistical wonder) among the top ten ever, right? He's very clearly better than both of those guys in a historical sense of their respective sports, but the sport of basketball wasn't as mainstream as it is now in Chamberlain's era. Also, Wilt wasn't exactly a team player.

Gretzky played in a great era and dominated it. He's definitely better than Wilt. Not to say Wilt is a bad player or anything, I have him at 4 all time behind MJ, Russell, and Kareem.

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01-19-2013, 05:25 PM
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Gretzky because of playoffs.

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01-19-2013, 05:31 PM
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Well, it's difficult to compare athletes of different sports or different eras. Perhaps a baseline should be established where both of them competed in something similar.

If it's the bedroom, then Wilt was king with a 20,000 career total, give or take a few. The math was determined as follows (per wikipedia):

"According to Rod Roddewig, a contemporary of Wilt's, the 20,000 number was created when he and Chamberlain were staying in Chamberlain's penthouse in Honolulu during the mid-eighties. He and Chamberlain stayed at the penthouse for 10 days, over the course of which he recorded everything on his Daytimer.[clarification needed] For every time Chamberlain went to bed with a different girl he put a check in his daytimer. After those 10 days there were 23 checks in the book, which would be rate of 2.3 women per day. He divided that number in half, to be conservative and correcting for degrees of variation. He then multiplied that number by the number of days he had been alive at the time minus 15 years. That was how the 20,000 number came into existence."

Not sure that Gretzky, Orr, Howe, and Lemieux in TOTAL ever matched that...

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01-19-2013, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
there is no argument for gretzky being any lower than second best of all time.

most consider wilt no better than second best all time in his sport, but some consider him as low as sixth (behind jordan, russell, kareem, magic, and bird). split the difference and wilt is probably 3rd/4th depending on how you rate kareem's freakish longevity and far better playoff career.

i don't see how this is close, unless we are only talking statistically.
Gretzky and Chamberlain changed the way their games were played in a profound way.

Some argue Bobby Orr did but in my opinion he was a center playing defense so he could stay on the ice longer.

Between Gretzky and Chamberlain , its very close. They both made a joke of their leagues and both caused drastic changes to their sport.

I think the NBA even made the hoop higher because the guy would just dunk the ball every time.

The NHL rigged it where there was no 4 on 4 because the oilers would goad their opponents into offsetting penalties so that gretzky could make even more of a mockery of the other team 4 on 4.

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01-19-2013, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by vecens24 View Post
As someone who writes about both basketball and hockey, it's Gretzky.

Wilt played in an era where he was one of the few athletic big men. His physical advantage over everyone was so great that he's comparable to someone like Newsy Lalonde or Frank Nighbor in the early openings of the sport. I mean, we don't consider someone like Joe Malone (another statistical wonder) among the top ten ever, right? He's very clearly better than both of those guys in a historical sense of their respective sports, but the sport of basketball wasn't as mainstream as it is now in Chamberlain's era. Also, Wilt wasn't exactly a team player.

Gretzky played in a great era and dominated it. He's definitely better than Wilt. Not to say Wilt is a bad player or anything, I have him at 4 all time behind MJ, Russell, and Kareem.
There may not have been many athletic big men when Wilt broke into the league, but by the mid-60s there were quite a few. Wilt would have a great physical advantage over any big man today as well, so I'm not sure there's a huge difference there.

Although if Wilt played today he would have to adapt to the much more guard-friendly rules. No contact on the perimeter, a 3-point line, and more travelling and palming allowed.

Wilt also played in a very high-pace, high-scoring era, so like Gretzky you have to take some air out of his raw numbers when comparing across eras.

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01-19-2013, 06:14 PM
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Add Babe Ruth to the discussion.

Going from a great pitcher to hitting more home runs than any other team did combined is certainly a feat.

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01-19-2013, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by overpass View Post
There may not have been many athletic big men when Wilt broke into the league, but by the mid-60s there were quite a few. Wilt would have a great physical advantage over any big man today as well, so I'm not sure there's a huge difference there.

Although if Wilt played today he would have to adapt to the much more guard-friendly rules. No contact on the perimeter, a 3-point line, and more travelling and palming allowed.

Wilt also played in a very high-pace, high-scoring era, so like Gretzky you have to take some air out of his raw numbers when comparing across eras.
If Wilt had played today he'd have been brought up in a Bill Self system at Kansas where he'd have been counted on differently. Also, just knowing Wilt's personality like I do having read a lot about him, I imagine he would have become infatuated with the three-point line and have lived around there.

Luckily for his sake, it wasn't around though. And no, Wilt would not have had a great physical advantage today. You look at guys like Larry Sanders and Ekpe Udoh for the Bucks and Tristan Thompson for the Cavs and Derrick Favors for the Jazz and I can go on and on about good, tall, athletic defensive big men who were not around in Wilt's day. I understand what you're saying about the mid-60s and there being quite a few (outside of Bill Russell, I disagree. There were some out there, but none with athleticism). For instance, Bob Pettit wasn't capable of guarding Chamberlain. Bill Russell and Wilt were the only players above 6'9 (Wilt was 7'1) in the top 40 in scoring the 1962 season (considered Wilt's crown jewel where he scored over 50 PPG). Those four inches that Wilt had on everyone are an insane advantage to have. In 1966, only Walt Bellamy had entered the fold as players less than four inches shorter than Wilt with actual talent. Wilt's dominance had a lot do with height, length, and being athletically superior to others.

By no means do I mean this to reduce Wilt's accomplishments because they are incredible. But they have a lot to do with who was playing. There's something to be said for being athletically superior to others. I already said Wilt is my fourth best player ever, above both Magic and Bird. His dominance eventually is too much to ignore. But his dominance does coem with a lot of asterisks.

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01-19-2013, 10:01 PM
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Please Bill Russel was a better center then Chamberlain. Chamberlain was let go/traded by teams because he was a pain in the ass to deal with. Great player but he didn't reach the levels of winning he should have

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01-19-2013, 10:31 PM
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Id go with Gretzky for sure in comparing those two, but overall, Id go with Michael Jordan, Pele', Tiger Woods, Ali' etc, Gretzky around 8th or 9th, Wilt the Stilt 11th-13th or so.... For "Best Pure Athlete", Jim Thorpe & Jim Brown.

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01-19-2013, 10:34 PM
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What do team accomplishments and accolades have to do with individual domination? This isn't about who won more championships, who had more wins, or who won what series, this is about an individual's ability to impact and dominate as a singular entity.

It's entirely possible to be the most dominant player while not being on a dynasty or racking up team accomplishments.

The answer is Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt dominated on both ends of the floor, the gap between Wilt and Russell on defense is much smaller, if not non-existent , than the gap between them offensively. Likewise for Wilt and Gretzky, if Gretzky played Gainey-level defense or something similar then I could see there being a better argument.

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01-20-2013, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vecens24 View Post
If Wilt had played today he'd have been brought up in a Bill Self system at Kansas where he'd have been counted on differently. Also, just knowing Wilt's personality like I do having read a lot about him, I imagine he would have become infatuated with the three-point line and have lived around there.

Luckily for his sake, it wasn't around though. And no, Wilt would not have had a great physical advantage today. You look at guys like Larry Sanders and Ekpe Udoh for the Bucks and Tristan Thompson for the Cavs and Derrick Favors for the Jazz and I can go on and on about good, tall, athletic defensive big men who were not around in Wilt's day. I understand what you're saying about the mid-60s and there being quite a few (outside of Bill Russell, I disagree. There were some out there, but none with athleticism). For instance, Bob Pettit wasn't capable of guarding Chamberlain. Bill Russell and Wilt were the only players above 6'9 (Wilt was 7'1) in the top 40 in scoring the 1962 season (considered Wilt's crown jewel where he scored over 50 PPG). Those four inches that Wilt had on everyone are an insane advantage to have. In 1966, only Walt Bellamy had entered the fold as players less than four inches shorter than Wilt with actual talent. Wilt's dominance had a lot do with height, length, and being athletically superior to others.

By no means do I mean this to reduce Wilt's accomplishments because they are incredible. But they have a lot to do with who was playing. There's something to be said for being athletically superior to others. I already said Wilt is my fourth best player ever, above both Magic and Bird. His dominance eventually is too much to ignore. But his dominance does coem with a lot of asterisks.
Most of the guys you named from today are around 6'10". Dwight Howard is as well. Wilt would still have three inches on those guys.

With his incredible physical build, skills, and athleticsm, Wilt would dominate the league today - if he was willing to be coached and optimize his game. As you suggest, that's far from a certainty. He was almost the anti-Gretzky in that sense.

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01-20-2013, 08:34 AM
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Gretzky. Wilt is normally ranked around 4th-6th best of all time. Many aren't even sure he was better than Russel. There is no logical arguement to place Gretzky lower than 2nd, IMO. And really, he should be (and is) 1st on most lists.

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01-20-2013, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shazariahl View Post
Gretzky. Wilt is normally ranked around 4th-6th best of all time. Many aren't even sure he was better than Russel. There is no logical arguement to place Gretzky lower than 2nd, IMO. And really, he should be (and is) 1st on most lists.
No way.
Athletes such as Alexander Karelin, Usain Bolt, Sugar Ray Robinson, Michael Phelps, etc. are a step above Gretzky. So are Pele and Jordan in team sports.

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01-20-2013, 09:39 AM
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No way.
Athletes such as Alexander Karelin, Usain Bolt, Sugar Ray Robinson, Michael Phelps, etc. are a step above Gretzky. So are Pele and Jordan in team sports.
I read shazariahl's post as there being no logical argument to rank Gretzky lower than second among hockey players, not among all athletes.

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01-20-2013, 11:22 AM
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The question isn't who was the better player, it's who was most dominant. Wilt dominated his sport like few others could. I put him in a category with Mike Tyson. Not the best of all time, but about as dominant of your peers as you can get

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01-20-2013, 11:57 AM
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Dominating statistically? It's still Gretzky. On a side note there is no way Wilt is the #1 NBA player ever. Maybe he's #2, but #1 belongs to Jordan and only him. Wilt could have fared better in the postseason though. Russell always got the best of him so this dominant force probably should have won more than twice. Just saying.

I agree that Babe Ruth is a player who should enter into the mix. Probably would have been a Hall of Famer solely as a pitcher but once he was traded to the Yankees and became a full time hitter it was "Good night Irene" for the rest of the league.

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01-20-2013, 01:07 PM
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I read shazariahl's post as there being no logical argument to rank Gretzky lower than second among hockey players, not among all athletes.
Thank you, that is exactly what I meant.

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01-20-2013, 01:16 PM
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I think you could show the teams in today's NHL footage of 99's entire career, give them two years to prepare for his arrival, put him on the Columbus bluejackets and a prime Gretzky would lead the league in points with his assists alone.

his saucer pass cannot be defended. its that simple.

if the coach wanted to win he would play him around 30 minutes a game (like sather did), he'd probably be the most dangerous penalty killer in the game, obviously the best pp quarterback & he'd be fighting like a madman for an extra point or two regardless of the score every time he took the ice. he would turn a couple teammates into 50 goal players overnight.

not sure how wilt would do. now, kareem with that unstoppable sky hook would be a decent fight...


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01-20-2013, 01:23 PM
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Wilt's 100 point game was mostly because of fouls.

I think as far as sports go, Gretzky dominates more than most, if not the most.

Gretzky has more assists than anyone has points. 1000+ more points than the second guy, Messier. 51 game point streak. 163 assists in a season. 11 consecutive 100+ assist seasons.

No one else has a clear cut edge over everyone else like Gretzky does.

Maybe guys like Maradona, Ruth, and Jordan were BETTER but Gretzky was more dominant.

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01-20-2013, 01:33 PM
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Wilt's 100 point game was mostly because of fouls.

I think as far as sports go, Gretzky dominates more than most, if not the most.

Gretzky has more assists than anyone has points. 1000+ more points than the second guy, Messier. 51 game point streak. 163 assists in a season. 11 consecutive 100+ assist seasons.

No one else has a clear cut edge over everyone else like Gretzky does.

Maybe guys like Maradona, Ruth, and Jordan were BETTER but Gretzky was more dominant.
The problem you'll always have with this argument is Gretzky's dominance was limited to offense. It's precisely why some would argue he's not the top hockey player of all time. If you're going to compare him to other athletes then you have to consider that some of the athletes considered the most offensively dominant in their sport were also considered amongst the best defensive players in their sport too. I'm sure someone will argue "best defense is a good offense" but that just doesn't cut it for me when players in other sports had BOTH abilities.

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01-20-2013, 01:37 PM
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The problem you'll always have with this argument is Gretzky's dominance was limited to offense. It's precisely why some would argue he's not the top hockey player of all time. If you're going to compare him to other athletes then you have to consider that some of the athletes considered the most offensively dominant in their sport were also considered amongst the best defensive players in their sport too. I'm sure someone will argue "best defense is a good offense" but that just doesn't cut it for me when players in other sports had BOTH abilities.
That's true, but I don't think dominance should be lessened if Gretzky wasn't as good in one end of the rink as the other. Personally, I think Bobby Orr was the best hockey player of all time. I just think that Gretzky's offensive dominance makes up for any shortcomings he had anywhere else multiple times over.

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