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Most Dominant athlete: Wayne Gretzky vs Wilt Chamberlain

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01-20-2013, 01:47 PM
  #26
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Originally Posted by eyeball11 View Post
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.
But is Gretzky's dominance limited to offense because he wasn't as good defensively or because he was never asked to play defensive hockey? His biggest skill was his ability to read the game. Turns out that this is also the most important asset to defensive players. Had that been applied to defensive hockey in balance with offensive hockey, Gretzky would've been considered a great defensive player.

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01-20-2013, 01:47 PM
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Most of Chamberlain's numbers are crap. For example the guy played every single minute of every game during that 50 points per game season. If his numbers were normalized to 36 minutes per game like the vast majority of starters play (even 40 minutes per game is beyond rare) his numbers are human. Also remember that Chamberlain was about 6 inches taller than the average center of his era.

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01-20-2013, 03:14 PM
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I believe that Gretzky and Chamberlain were similarly dominant at their peaks, though Gretzky has a pretty sizable edge in longevity. There are more considerations to be taken into account with Chamberlain's scoring, such as the possessions per game and the quality of opposing big men. Chamberlain was clearly the superior defensive player, and by a wide margin. Any positive intangibles favour Gretzky tremendously. Chamberlain's playoff contributions are far better than people often give him credit for, but Gretzky was a better playoff performer. I would give Gretzky the edge in dominance, since he did it longer than Chamberlain and because there wasn't really anything that could be done to stop him at his apex.

I also don't buy that Chamberlain would not be ridiculously dominant today. Referees are much more likely to call fouls down low, and three point shooters would open much more space than was abailable in the 60s and 70s. Also, I do not believe that a physical freak like Chamberlain would have much trouble dominating the current crop of NBA big men, particularly as the league moves away from traditional centres. Too much is made of the height thing, as I don't remember Yao Ming going out and posting Chamberlain-esque numbers just because he was inches taller than everyone.

Something to remember about Wilt - the man was near Shaq size (when Shaq was in shape), but had tremendous speed and jumping ability. That's without the aid of modern training and nutrition. NBA athletes have not improved to the point where they should be close to matching Chamberlain athletically.

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Originally Posted by I Hate Jay Feaster View Post
Wilt's 100 point game was mostly because of fouls.
They fouled Chamberlain excessively to prevent him from scoring way over 100. Look at some game logs, and you can see that with good free throw shooting like Chamberlain enjoyed in that game he would have reached 100 points multiple times. He mainly reached 100 because he enjoyed one of his best free throw shooting performances on the same day as one of his more typical dominant games.

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01-20-2013, 03:34 PM
  #29
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Originally Posted by Loto68 View Post
Most of Chamberlain's numbers are crap. For example the guy played every single minute of every game during that 50 points per game season. If his numbers were normalized to 36 minutes per game like the vast majority of starters play (even 40 minutes per game is beyond rare) his numbers are human. Also remember that Chamberlain was about 6 inches taller than the average center of his era.
You can't take physical size and use that as a fault. Also, Wayne played in an era where 2min shifts were common, so playing time is a non-factor as well. I'd still put Wayne ahead of Wilt, but those are bad arguments.

There's so many factors in this, and stats are only a part. I'd go with:

1) Babe Ruth absolute #1, as I mentioned earlier. Like Phil said, he's a HOF pitcher, then hits more home runs than an entire team does.

2) Mike Tyson. For his short peak, he was absolutely unbeatable until personal stuff got in the way.

3) Wayne Gretzky, or could be Orr. Wayne's offensive numbers were sick, but a defenseman winning the Art Ross is just as impressive. Take your pick on that one. Neither is wrong.

I'm not a fan of soccer, football is too much reliant on the team, maybe Richard Petty but I don't think that's a sport in the traditional sense.

One more to add, but don't know where to place him, Jim Thorpe. Guy pretty much won any physical event handily. 2 maybe and drop the rest down one? I dunno.

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01-20-2013, 03:54 PM
  #30
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Originally Posted by Ace14 View Post
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
Sure both Wilt and Tyson dominated but one has to look at their competition as well don't they?

Even looking beyond the "fixing" of matches in boxing where young up and commers get fights they are supposed to win, the heavy weight division when Tyson fought was a bit of a joke.

Few people would put Tyson above Ali for instance, in part due to the level of competition Ali had.

I'd take Wayne here quite easily, his domination in the offensive part of the game was extremely high and for a very long period of time and his post season exploits and best on best tournaments make him the unmatched number 1 player in the histroy of the game.

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01-20-2013, 04:13 PM
  #31
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Originally Posted by Long Duk Dong View Post
You can't take physical size and use that as a fault. Also, Wayne played in an era where 2min shifts were common, so playing time is a non-factor as well. I'd still put Wayne ahead of Wilt, but those are bad arguments.

There's so many factors in this, and stats are only a part. I'd go with:

1) [B]Babe Ruth absolute #1, as I mentioned earlier. Like Phil said, he's a HOF pitcher, then hits more home runs than an entire team does.[/B

2) Mike Tyson. For his short peak, he was absolutely unbeatable until personal stuff got in the way.

3) Wayne Gretzky, or could be Orr. Wayne's offensive numbers were sick, but a defenseman winning the Art Ross is just as impressive. Take your pick on that one. Neither is wrong.

I'm not a fan of soccer, football is too much reliant on the team, maybe Richard Petty but I don't think that's a sport in the traditional sense.

One more to add, but don't know where to place him, Jim Thorpe. Guy pretty much won any physical event handily. 2 maybe and drop the rest down one? I dunno.
Anyone having Ruth as #1 has to give their head a shake.

1st of all he did not have a HOF career at SP, his record was 94-46 with 1 great season, one very good one and 2 decent ones.

2nd when Ruth hit more Home Runs than an entire team does in his early HR heroics, it was because other teams weren't trying to hit HR's the conventional wisdom of the day was to put the ball into play and get men on base.

The 3rd point is the most important, people forget that baseball was segregated and Ruth played in a white only league. It would be the equivalent of a hockey player playing in a Canadian only league post early 90's.

The fact of the matter is how competitive could the league really be when Ruth was getting drunk and whoring it up before games on a frequent basis? Probably quite a bit lower than at later stages and especially after baseball became integrated.

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01-20-2013, 04:16 PM
  #32
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What I'd like to mention is Wilt playing 45+ minutes and even when he was injured is extremely difficult for anyone to do consistently and shows superhuman stamina.

Also if half the stories about Wilt are true (could bench 500+ pounds, even some claim he could bench more than prime Shaq at almost 60, around 50" inch vertical (more than MJ), could lift other players effortlessly with one hand (in his mid 40s Arnold Schwarzenagger claimed he could do 170 lb tri extensions), and he ran the 440 yard sprint at 49 seconds in his younger days (record is 44.5), as well as competing at an Olympic level in his school track meets), combined with his incredible skill, he's a lot better than most people give him credit for.

And even some people claim, as well as Wilt, that he held back to a degree as to not hurt people. His dunk broke someone's foot once, and another time it hit the ground hard enough that it bounced back up over the hoop.

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01-20-2013, 04:54 PM
  #33
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There is no way to paint "played every minute of every game" in a negative light. Playing 48.5 minutes per game in 1962 with the players taking red-eye flights, playing on terrible, uneven floors, with none of the modern luxuries and medical staffs that players enjoy now is one of the greatest accomplishments in professional sports history.

Wilt's athletic ability and stamina were freakish.

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01-20-2013, 05:02 PM
  #34
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I understand Gretzky is not your normal athlete. He wont be able to leap tall buildings (I think), bench press over 200lbs, skate or run faster than a speeding bullet. But he is highly underrated when it comes to athletics.

Gretzky played multiple sports up in Canada growing up before he fully took over at hockey. According to some sources, Gretzky was very successful at lacrosse and baseball and each of them he said was great training for hockey.

I mean I would choose Wilt easily at the sports he excelled at such as Basketball, Field and Track but Gretzky has his hockey, lacrosse, baseball. So its interesting debate but when we talk about athletics we usually think of Bo Jackson. WHo is the fastest, strongest and has the hand/foot eye coord.

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01-20-2013, 05:24 PM
  #35
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Anyone having Ruth as #1 has to give their head a shake.

1st of all he did not have a HOF career at SP, his record was 94-46 with 1 great season, one very good one and 2 decent ones.

2nd when Ruth hit more Home Runs than an entire team does in his early HR heroics, it was because other teams weren't trying to hit HR's the conventional wisdom of the day was to put the ball into play and get men on base.

The 3rd point is the most important, people forget that baseball was segregated and Ruth played in a white only league. It would be the equivalent of a hockey player playing in a Canadian only league post early 90's.

The fact of the matter is how competitive could the league really be when Ruth was getting drunk and whoring it up before games on a frequent basis? Probably quite a bit lower than at later stages and especially after baseball became integrated.
Oh my God, come on now. How competitive could the NHL be in Gretzky's era when many were voluntarily giving themselves cancer via cigarettes along with the usual booze and vast amounts of fornication with women that usually happens when a young athlete makes a ton of money. Not to mention the NHL didn't "integrate" Europeans for the most part until the mid 90's.

Babe Ruth doesn't count because he didn't play against black guys, had sex and drank beer?

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01-20-2013, 05:44 PM
  #36
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Originally Posted by Long Duk Dong View Post
Oh my God, come on now. How competitive could the NHL be in Gretzky's era when many were voluntarily giving themselves cancer via cigarettes along with the usual booze and vast amounts of fornication with women that usually happens when a young athlete makes a ton of money. Not to mention the NHL didn't "integrate" Europeans for the most part until the mid 90's.

Babe Ruth doesn't count because he didn't play against black guys, had sex and drank beer?
It certainly doesn't make a strong case for him...

Plus it's baseball...certainly requires skill (one player at a time) but has anyone... ever... ran out of breath playing this sport?

How about all the great Curlers and Bowlers? No offence but are we talking about the most dominant athlete of all time?

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01-20-2013, 06:06 PM
  #37
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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.
Good points on Russell. During the time Chamberlain was 'dominating'. Russell won 11 Championships.
He was MVP 5 times. All Star 12 times. 5 time rebounding champ.

That's one mother of an asterisk beside 'dominating', IMO.

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01-20-2013, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Gee Wally View Post
Good points on Russell. During the time Chamberlain was 'dominating'. Russell won 11 Championships.
He was MVP 5 times. All Star 12 times. 5 time rebounding champ.

That's one mother of an asterisk beside 'dominating', IMO.
Well a lot of the time the "MVP" was just the leader of the best team, especially back than and Russell's Celtics were the most dominant team in sports.

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01-20-2013, 06:29 PM
  #39
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Yeah , I know. I saw them. In person.

And he was not 'dominated' by Wilt in any way shape or form. Matter of fact he drove Chamberlain nuts.

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01-20-2013, 06:49 PM
  #40
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This is pretty silly on a forum with a high population % of Canadians on it (no offense).

Most DOMINATE player. Not "best". A lot of the arguments against Wilt can be used against the Great One too.

*Precursor: I was born in 1989. I did not ever see Wilt play live, nor did i see Gretzky play in his prime. The following opinions are based off of specials, highlight videos, and stats. Take everything with a grain of salt.

Wilt played in an era when basketball wasn't mainstream. When the talent pool wasn't large at all. SO DID GRETZKY. It seems to be popular opinion (and please correct me if i'm wrong) that hockey in the 80's was slightly more competitive than pre-expansion basketball. Defense and goaltending was a total joke. Goalies pads were ridiculously small, defenders were slow, with no agility. Many of them wouldn't even make an ECHL team today. Gretzky, LIKE WILT, amassed so many of his statistical successes because he was tremendous at his sport and he was so much better than his lackluster competition.

Its very close to dead even in my eyes but i give the edge to Wilt ONLY because of his physical advantages over everyone else on the court. If you're struggling to find an equivalent, imagine Zdeno Chara being an offensive monster. Thats the kind of size advantage Wilt had, which is arguably the biggest reason for his dominance. Wilt was gifted with amazing talent and an amazing body that gave him every advantage possible over his opponents.

For the record, i think a better discussion would be Gretzky vs. Jordan in terms of dominance.

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01-20-2013, 06:53 PM
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This is pretty silly on a forum with a high population % of Canadians on it (no offense).

Most DOMINATE player. Not "best". A lot of the arguments against Wilt can be used against the Great One too.

*Precursor: I was born in 1989. I did not ever see Wilt play live, nor did i see Gretzky play in his prime. The following opinions are based off of specials, highlight videos, and stats. Take everything with a grain of salt.

Wilt played in an era when basketball wasn't mainstream. When the talent pool wasn't large at all. SO DID GRETZKY. It seems to be popular opinion (and please correct me if i'm wrong) that hockey in the 80's was slightly more competitive than pre-expansion basketball. Defense and goaltending was a total joke. Goalies pads were ridiculously small, defenders were slow, with no agility. Many of them wouldn't even make an ECHL team today. Gretzky, LIKE WILT, amassed so many of his statistical successes because he was tremendous at his sport and he was so much better than his lackluster competition.

Its very close to dead even in my eyes but i give the edge to Wilt ONLY because of his physical advantages over everyone else on the court. If you're struggling to find an equivalent, imagine Zdeno Chara being an offensive monster. Thats the kind of size advantage Wilt had, which is arguably the biggest reason for his dominance. Wilt was gifted with amazing talent and an amazing body that gave him every advantage possible over his opponents.

For the record, i think a better discussion would be Gretzky vs. Jordan in terms of dominance.
Gretzky = Chamberlain's statistical dominance of the regular season + Jordan's dominance of the postseason.

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01-20-2013, 06:54 PM
  #42
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Yeah , I know. I saw them. In person.

And he was not 'dominated' by Wilt in any way shape or form. Matter of fact he drove Chamberlain nuts.
His team approach won him the games. But Russell even said something like he couldn't win by making it him vs. Wilt, but he could win by making it team vs team.

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01-20-2013, 07:00 PM
  #43
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His team approach won him the games. But Russell even said something like he couldn't win by making it him vs. Wilt, but he could win by making it team vs team.
Your claim and comparison is " dominate". I say as an eye witness that Chamberlain did not dominate Russell.
Hell Jerry West , who knows a thing or two about basketball said Russell was the greatest during that time.

You can't make the dominance argument. At least as long as dinosaurs like me are still around. As long as you can't twist what MVP meant when. Or the the winning of championships.

I'm out.

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01-20-2013, 07:02 PM
  #44
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Gretzky = Chamberlain's statistical dominance of the regular season + Jordan's dominance of the postseason.
No. How many hall of famers did Wilt play with on his team? How about Gretzky? Team dominance =/= Most Dominant Athlete. If Gretzky was playing with no support his whole career he would have been much easier to slow down.

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01-20-2013, 07:15 PM
  #45
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This is pretty silly on a forum with a high population % of Canadians on it (no offense).

Most DOMINATE player. Not "best". A lot of the arguments against Wilt can be used against the Great One too.

*Precursor: I was born in 1989. I did not ever see Wilt play live, nor did i see Gretzky play in his prime. The following opinions are based off of specials, highlight videos, and stats. Take everything with a grain of salt.

Wilt played in an era when basketball wasn't mainstream. When the talent pool wasn't large at all. SO DID GRETZKY. It seems to be popular opinion (and please correct me if i'm wrong) that hockey in the 80's was slightly more competitive than pre-expansion basketball. Defense and goaltending was a total joke. Goalies pads were ridiculously small, defenders were slow, with no agility. Many of them wouldn't even make an ECHL team today. Gretzky, LIKE WILT, amassed so many of his statistical successes because he was tremendous at his sport and he was so much better than his lackluster competition.

Its very close to dead even in my eyes but i give the edge to Wilt ONLY because of his physical advantages over everyone else on the court. If you're struggling to find an equivalent, imagine Zdeno Chara being an offensive monster. Thats the kind of size advantage Wilt had, which is arguably the biggest reason for his dominance. Wilt was gifted with amazing talent and an amazing body that gave him every advantage possible over his opponents.

For the record, i think a better discussion would be Gretzky vs. Jordan in terms of dominance.
Wilt's competition in the 1960s and competition today are primarily drawn from the set of American men in their athletic prime and 6'8" or taller. What other sport were these people playing in the 1960s? Surely basketball was picking up all that talent.

Similarly, what other sport were Canadians playing in the 1980s? Gretzky played against the best. And not just Canadians either.

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01-20-2013, 07:18 PM
  #46
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If we're going to talk about dominant sportsmen we can't leave out Donald Bradman.

He had a career test batting average of 99.94. In comparison, the second highest career test average is Greame Pollock with 60.97, one of only three batsmen to have a career average over 60.

I also know this comment will probably be overlooked because it's cricket on a hockey board.

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01-20-2013, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by xX Hot Fuss View Post
No. How many hall of famers did Wilt play with on his team? How about Gretzky? Team dominance =/= Most Dominant Athlete. If Gretzky was playing with no support his whole career he would have been much easier to slow down.
Right. Gretzky averaged 1.84 points per game over 208 playoff games, led the playoffs in scoring 6 times (in a 21+ team league), and led all 4 Canada Cups in which he played in scoring. But it was all his teammates, I guess.

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01-20-2013, 07:32 PM
  #48
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Right. Gretzky averaged 1.84 points per game over 208 playoff games, led the playoffs in scoring 6 times (in a 21+ team league), and led all 4 Canada Cups in which he played in scoring. But it was all his teammates, I guess.
Haha Gretzky averaged 1.84 ppg in the playoffs playing with Messier, Coffey, Kurri, and Anderson. Really? He did? What a shocker...

Woah, and then Gretzky played really well in Canada Cup tournaments? Playing with stacked rosters...

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01-20-2013, 07:35 PM
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Haha Gretzky averaged 1.84 ppg in the playoffs playing with Messier, Coffey, Kurri, and Anderson. Really? He did? What a shocker...
You do realize those guys only played with Gretzky for part of his career, right? And that when they were all playing together, he badly outscored them?

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Woah, and then Gretzky played really well in Canada Cup tournaments? Playing with stacked rosters...
And Gretzky outscored every teammate on those stacked rosters and outscored every opponent on the stacked Soviet roster every single time.

There are lots of people who would take Russell over Chamberlain because of playoffs or clutch play or whatever. Nobody would ever take another player over Gretzky because of playoff performances (those who pick others over Gretzky do so because of all-round game or looking better).

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01-20-2013, 07:42 PM
  #50
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No. How many hall of famers did Wilt play with on his team? How about Gretzky? Team dominance =/= Most Dominant Athlete. If Gretzky was playing with no support his whole career he would have been much easier to slow down.
paul arizin, tom gola, nate thurmond, hal greer, chet walker, jerry west, elgin baylor, gail goodrich. chamberlain usually had two fellow hall of famers on his teams. the year he won his first title, he had greer, walker, plus billy cunningham, who was a three time first team all-star and future ABA MVP. that team was s t a c k e d.

then his second title was with the freakin' lakers.


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Gretzky = Chamberlain's statistical dominance of the regular season + Jordan's dominance of the postseason.
that's too far, i think. gretzky may well be the greatest playoff performer in hockey history (i go back and forth on this), but jordan... he played in one of the most competitive eras for elite talent in basketball history, and in his prime no single one of his peers won a title as long as he was in the league. and even then, russell not jordan is probably the greatest playoff performer in basketball history. it's tougher for elite hockey players to sustain the kind of year-in, year-out playoff domination that an elite basketball player can. which i guess just goes further to show what wilt should have done vs. what he actually did do.

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