Wilt Chamberlain, not Michael Jordan is the NBA’s GOAT, argues Walt Frazier
New York Knicks Hall of Fame point guard Walt Frazier, now a longtime color commentator for MSG Network, weighed in in the persistent GOAT (Greatest of All Time) discussion, adding a different name than the usual Michael Jordan–LeBron James debate.
Frazier, 75, told the New York Post this week that his candidate for the best basketball player ever is Wilt Chamberlain, one of the all-time best centers the game has ever seen.
“’I always ask what’s the criteria when you say the greatest ever … If it’s Superman, it’s Wilt Chamberlain. I have (Kareem) Abdul-Jabbar as a career-leading scorer. Versatility is Oscar Robertson. Winning is Bill Russell. Those are the four guys. Actually I’d say Wilt Chamberlain because when we played in the 70s and flied commercial, you go through the airport and people would say either ‘Are you a Globetrotter or Wilt Chamberlain?’ That’s all the people knew.’
“Frazier also cited rule changes designed to limit Chamberlain, who famously dumped 100 points on the Knicks.
“‘There were only two players they ever changed the rules for in pro basketball — George Mikan, and Wilt Chamberlain — widening the lane for them … The two guys they had to neutralize by changing some aspect of the game. If not for Chamberlain, nobody would’ve heard of any of us. I don’t know if there would’ve been an NBA. If not for Wilt and Bill Russell. I don’t know if the NBA would’ve made it.’
“‘I would find it hard to say Mike. Mike is right there with those guys, but if I had to pick, it would be Chamberlain.'”
A seven-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion with the Knicks, Frazier had an up close and personal look at Chamberlain’s greatness during the later part of The Stilt’s career. Chamberlain was then on the Lakers when the Knicks faced off with the west coast franchise three times, winning twice, in the NBA Finals in the early 1970’s.
Here, though, Frazier argues Chamberlain changed the game in a literal way — the NBA had to change rules to make games more competitive due to the Hall of Fame center’s impact.
The GOAT debate has been back in the forefront of sports conversation due to ESPN airing a 10-part docu-series “The Last Dance,” which follows the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls’ quest for a second threepeat, making it six titles in eight years with Jordan.