Physical stats of Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal are compared: 4.6 seconds for 40 yards, 370 pounds for playing weight.

Two of the greatest NBA players of all time in their respective positions are Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal. Due to their abilities on both sides of the court, these two centers dominated the game during their respective eras and turned into a nightmare for opposing players. These two were frequently compared since they were very similar players who could do much more on the court than just shoot free throws.


As everyone is aware, Wilt was not amused by the parallels and frequently refuted the idea that Shaq and him were on par, asserting that O’Neal could not have faced off against each other in the 1960s and beyond.


These two have been the subject of a lot of discussion lately. A Redditor using by the handle “halomace” recently posted a chart that contrasts Wilt Chamberlain’s birthdate with Shaquille O’Neal’s. Even though not all of the data was collected at the same age, it’s still intriguing to compare Shaq and Wilt.


Wilt Chamberlain


7’1″ without footwear


7’8″ in circumference


9’6″ from a standing position (1956 shoes)


Hand length of 9.5″


11.5″ spread of the hands


Weight range for playing: 258–320 lbs.


Hand length of 9.5″


11.5″ spread of the hands


Weight range for playing: 258–320 lbs.


290–310 pounds at their best


Max reach of 12’6″ (1956)


Max reach of 13′ (1960)


Max reach of 12’9″ (1968)


1966, 4.6 hand-timed 40 yards


Shaquille O’Neal


7’0″ when not wearing shoes


7’7″ in circumference


9’5″ from a standing position (1992 shoes)


11″ in hand length


Nine-inch hand spread


Weight range for playing: 301-370 lbs.


315–335 pounds at maximum weight


Maximum Reach: 12′ 5″ (1992)


5.8 40-yard hand timed in 2009


A different Redditor summed this up by outlining the key points of the analogies.


Without shoes, Wilt was 1″ taller and had a 1″ greater arm span.


Although Wilt had a larger hand spread (11.5″ vs. 9″), Shaq had longer hands (11″ vs. 9.5″).


Shaq weighed 10–25 pounds heavier when he was at his best.


In the 40-meter dash, Wilt was more than a full second quicker.


When Wilt was at his best, he could jump 42″ with a running start (9’6 standing reach, 13′ maximum reach in 1960), but Shaq could only jump 36″ when running.


Edit: I was unaware that Shaq’s 40-meter dash was recorded at 37 years old, while Wilt’s was recorded at 30. Pre-Wilt Shaq would have therefore been closer to Wilt’s era. However, Wilt would have also finished sooner in his mid-20s had he not been a Kansas track and field great.

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