Although Wilt Chamberlain has a unique place of his own in NBA history, he always talked down to younger players like Michael Jordan.
Wilt is one of those mythical legends of the game. It would be unfathomable for a player to even think of trying some of the things he did. Like averaging over 48 minutes per game in a season. Or averaging 50 points a game, along with 25 rebounds.
Chamberlain was the most dominant player in an era when the NBA had barely 80 players and 8 teams in the league. The way he dominated even that special, exclusive talent pool is testament to his legend. Statistically, it can be argued that he’s the greatest regular season player ever.
Wilt Chamberlain called Michael Jordan’s 90s era ‘diluted’ in interview with Howard Stern
Howard Stern interviewed Wilt Chamberlain once in 1997. This video has recently resurfaced on Reddit. It has spawned a discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of each era.
In this video, Chamberlain’s comments on 90s basketball and how Michael Jordan changed the commercial aspect of the game are quite similar to Shaq’s comments on Rudy Gobert. Wilt first plays down the level of competition in the 90s:
“I’m down on sports today and basketball in particular because they’ve diluted the game down.”
But Wilt goes on to praise Jordan and avert the comparison later on in the interview:
“I see Michael Jordan should get 10% of every guy’s contract. Because he’s made basketball exciting. Young guys coming up should be taking their hat off to Michael Jordan.”
Overall, he made some valid points. But the timing of these comments puts them in proper perspective. Wilt was on a bookselling promo tour, and he had to talk himself up, make some noise in order to get more readers. He likely made these comments to placate Jordan fans. He was known to make disparaging comments about latter players all the while.