THAT WAS THEN ... THIS IS NOW: Wilt and Shaq
The game has evolved dramatically over time, but NBA.com's That Was Then ... This Is Now proves the more things change, the more they stay the same. We compare two of the most imposing physical presences ever to take the court: Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O'Neal. Check back to see which old-school All-Stars are most similar to: Kobe Bryant (Feb. 4) and Tim Duncan (Feb. 6).
Thomas-Francis
Gervin-McGrady
-- By Rob Peterson


Name
WILT CHAMBERLAIN
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL
Nickname
Wilt the Stilt, The Big Dipper
Shaq Daddy, The Big Aristotle
Height
7-1
7-1
Weight
275
340
Career
(Seasons)
1959-1973
(14 NBA seasons)
1992-present
(11th NBA season)
A-S Selections
13
10 (includes 2003)
First
All-Star Game
1960
(in Philadelphia)
1993
(in Salt Lake City)
Age (first A-S Game)
24
21
A-S scoring average
14.7 ppg
17.2 ppg
Best A-S
performance
1962:
42 pts., 24 reb., 1 asst.
2002:
25 pts., 10 reb., 1 asst.
A-S Game MVP
1960
2000, Co-MVP
Career avg.
30.1
27.5
Best season
50.4 ppg (1961-62)
29.7 ppg (1999-2000)
Most memorable performance
The only man to score 100 points in a single NBA game (3-2-62)
Averaged 30.7 points and 15.4 rebounds in 2000 NBA Playoffs
THE SKINNY
Wilt Chamberlain
highlights:
56k | 300k
At 7-1, 275 pounds, Wilt Chamberlain was the most feared, most awe-inspiring, most-dominating player in all of professional basketball.

And when you look at the numbers, Chamberlain seems almost super-human. He still holds 31 NBA records (and he could regain another if Michael Jordan's career scoring average slips below 30.1 points per game). Many of these records still defy belief, logic and may never be broken such as the 50.4 points and 48.5 minutes per game (as you know, NBA games are 48 minutes long) he averaged during the 1961-62 season. He holds the record for points in a game (100 on March 2, 1962 against the Knicks in Hershey, Pa.) and rebounds (55!). He never averaged fewer than 18.2 rebounds in a season. Once, he even led the league in assists (702 in 1967-68).

Yes, Chamberlain was the game's most feared physical presence ... until Shaq came along.

O'Neal -- who is the same height as Wilt, but hardly the same size -- is a full 60 pounds heavier than Chamberlain. Like Wilt, Shaq posed matchup problems for every center in the league. Combined with his bulk, Shaq was light on his feet and he took the league by storm, scoring 23.4 points and grabbing 13.3 rebounds per game in 1993. Since that season, Shaq has never averaged fewer than 26.2 points per game in a season and has led the league in scoring twice. He has also led the league in field goal percentage six times, and he leads this season at 56 percent, which would put him two behind Wilt's record of nine seasons leading the league in field goal percentage.

Wilt and Shaq share an Achilles' heel: the free throw line. Wilt shot 51.1 percent for his career, while Shaq hits 53.6 percent of his free throws.

Photo credits: (Chamberlain -- Wen Roberts/NBAE Photos; O'Neal -- Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)