Costas: The 25-year-old Wilt transplanted into today’s NBA. What do you do?
Wilt: It’s simple for me. It may be a little difficult for Russ, but it’s simple for me. I think it’d be easy for Russ. You see, with the new rules which all slant to help the offense. Now, when I get the ball, instead of having two and three people and Russ on me at the same time, I’m by myself with one guy. I would love it. I would love it. Um, 50 points, maybe 60 points, maybe 70 points a game. Cause I have nobody…wait, wait…You asked me a question, right?
Costas: 70 a game?!
Wilt: Well, you know I was talking to Russ about the last 10 games of my ’61-’62 season right before I scored 100 points, I averaged about 71 points a game.
and, as a bonus let's invite Bill Russell into the room.
The clip gets even better, however, when Russell decides to join in on the fun when Costas inquires about his Celtics teams squaring up against the best teams of the past “five, six years” aka Hakeem’s Rockets, but more so the Jordan/Pippen-led Bulls.
Russell: We would’ve still won 11 championships. I haven’t seen a team in the last 10 years, 15 years that could beat us.
With the debate over Jordan's remarks regarding the players of this era and the commentary of many who grew up watching him (myself included) I figured I would find out what players of the 60's and 70's were saying about the league in the late 80's and 90's. It never fails. There is always this "back in my day" syndrome.
In this 1990 video, there is a claim that Wilt would dominate the 90's more than he dominated the 60's potentially averaging even 70ppg in a season.
In this video from 1997, Bob Costas is interviewing Russell and Chamberlain. Costas asks Wilt what a 25 year old Wilt would do in 1997 (the end of the Jordan era). He replies by saying, "You see with the new rules, which are all slanted to help the offense...Now when I get the ball instead of having two and three people and Russ all (?) me at the same time, I'm by myself with one guy. I would love it. 50 points, maybe 60 points, maybe 70 points a game... It's easier now [in 1997]."
Costas then asks Russell how the best of his Celtics' teams would compete with the best teams of the 80's and 90's. Russell replies by saying, that if they were playing in the 80's and 90's "We'd still win 11 championships. I hadn't seen a team in the last 10 years or 15 years that could beat us." That 15 year period would include the '83 Sixers, '86 Celtics, '87 Lakers, Bad Boy Pistons, and all Bulls champions from '91 to '97.
Here Walt Frazier is asked how players of his era would do in today's game, and he blatantly says that Wilt would probably average 75 points a game today. Then he proceeds to explain why he said that. So in his view the 60's and 70's had tougher rules.
Just as an added bonus in this video from the 1996 Finals Magic, Bird, Dr. J, and even the interviewer Bob Costas each insinuate that while the '96 Bulls were an all time great team, the level of competition that Jordan and the 90's Bulls faced was slightly less than the level of competition during the 80's.
In 2035, 50+ year old Kobe, Lebron, Wade, and CP3 will be telling everyone how tough it was to play "back in their day", and how they would dominate the new league.
Shaq would eat him and spit him out. Dont know whether Wilt was delusional but he's not having his way against Shaq, Robinson, Hakeem, Ewing, Mutumbo and co.
You might not know this but when Shaq was coming up his full potential as a player was basically Wilt and to many he fell short at the time. However he ended up with more rings than Wilt obviously and all was forgiven. Wilt was Shaq's size (lighter but still ~300+ most years ) and actually in shape.