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Throughout the course of history, the NBA has had some of the fiercest and most unstoppable scorers to ever set foot on a basketball court. That’s just one of the many reasons why it’s always been the most entertaining and tough competition in all major sports.

However, there are a handful of players that stood up from day one, even amongst all these greatest scorers. Either because of their brains, their physique, their skills or the combination of all of the above, they’ve always been at least two steps ahead of everybody else in terms of scoring.

And while some players have thrived in the league for over a decade, none of them has been the best scorer in the NBA for more than 10 years, as there’s always a new face trying to write his name in the history books. Today, we’re going to let you know about the best scorer of every decade:

 

1960’s – Wilt Chamberlain

Career Average 30.1 PPG

Decade Average 40.3 PPG

Highest Average 50.4 PPG

Career High 100 PTS

7 Scoring Titles (6 in that decade)

Wilt Chamberlain was a freak of nature. He was so physically gifted, long, and athletic, that his peers and rivals simply didn’t stand a chance when trying to guard him. As a matter of fact, the league even had to change some rules in order to make it harder for him to dominate.

Needless to say, those rule changes didn’t affect his game whatsoever, as he continued to bully defenders in the paint with his historically impressive vertical leap. To this day, he still holds the records for the highest-scoring game in NBA history.

Honorable Mention: Elgin Baylor (Career Average 27.4 PPG, Decade Average 30.7 PPG, Highest Average 38.3 PPG, Career High 71 PTS)

 

1970’s – Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Career Average 24.6 PPG

Decade Average 28.6 PPG

Highest Average 34.8 PPG

Career High 55 PTS

2 Scoring Titles (Both in that decade)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar entered the league with a lot of expectations after having arguably the greatest career in college basketball. It’s pretty safe to say that he lived up to the hype, as he eventually became the all-time scoring leader in NBA history.

Kareem was efficient, effective, and versatile. His signature Sky Hook was an unstoppable shot back in the day, and up to this day, young big men are still trying to replicate it. He scored 38,387 career points and will go down as one of the most reliable, durable, and dominant scorers of all time.

Honorable Mention: Pete Maravich (Career Average 24.2 PPG, Decade Average22.4 PPG, Highest Average 31.1 PPG, Career High 68 PTS, 1 Scoring Title)

 

1980’s – Larry Bird

(via NBA.com)

Career Average 24.3 PPG

Decade Average 25.5 PPG

Highest Average 29.9 PPG

Career High 60 PTS

Some may argue that Larry Bird’s averages aren’t that impressive but take into notice that the game was played a completely different (slower) pace during his prime. Also, he was the first player to become a consistent threat from beyond the three-point line.

Bird may have not been the biggest volume scorer of his time, but he was by far the most consistent and efficient. He just couldn’t miss when he set his mind in scoring and could hurt you in a variety of ways that was almost unprecedented at the time. His game would still be perfectly suited for the modern NBA.

Honorable Mention: Adrian Dantley (Career Average 24.3 PPG, Decade Average 25.4 PPG, Highest Average 30.7 PPG, Career High 57 PTS, 2 Scoring Titles, Both in that decade)

 

1990’s – Michael Jordan

(via Goliath)

Career Average 30.1 PPG

Decade Average 29.9 PPG

Highest Average 35.0 PPG

Career High 69 PTS

10 Scoring Titles (6 in that decade)

If we talk about dominant scorers, Michael Jordan has to be at the top of that list. We’re talking about a guy that won 10 Scoring Titles in 14 seasons in the league, and that led the league in scoring in 6 of the 7 years he played during the 90s.

Jordan retired for a year after his first three-peat and didn’t play any competitive basketball whatsoever and came back averaging 26.9 points per game before winning his second three-peat. He’s simply the greatest hooper of all time, and it’s not even close.

Honorable Mention: Karl Malone (Career Average 25.0 PPG, Decade Average 26.5 PPG, Highest Average 31.0 PPG, Career High 61 PTS)

 

2000’s – Kobe Bryant

Career Average 25.0 PPG

Decade Average 28.4 PPG

Highest Average 35.4 PPG

Career High 81 PTS

2 Scoring Titles (Both in that decade)

Kobe Bryant was the closest to Jordan that we’ve ever seen. He didn’t just replicate his moves and made it their own, but he also embraced his competitive spirit to always try and be better, to outplay and outhustle every single one of his peers and rivals, to dominate the game.

To this day, Kobe holds the second-highest scoring performance in NBA history with his 81 point piece vs. the Raptors. During that decade, he also had 4 straight games scoring 50+ points, including 2 60+ points outings, and ended up averaging 40.4 points during that month.

Honorable Mention: Allen Iverson (Career Average 26.7 PPG, Decade Average 26.4 PPG, Highest Average 33.0 PPG, Career High 60 PTS, 4 Scoring Titles, 3 in that decade)

 

2010’s – Kevin Durant

Career Average 27.0 PPG

Decade Average 27.4 PPG

Highest Average 32.0 PPG

Career High 54 PTS

4 Scoring Titles (3 in that decade)

Kevin Durant made it to the league as a volume scorer but he’s definitely turned the corner and become way more than that. Add the fact that he started sharing touches with the Splash Brothers and you’ll know why his scoring numbers have taken a slight dip.

However, Durant is by far the greatest scorer of the decade, not only because of how efficiently he can score from all three levels but also because of the different ways he has to score. James Harden is most likely going to top him on this list any time soon, but Durant’s overall game is smoother and more complete.

Honorable Mention: James Harden (Career Average 25.1 PPG, Decade Average 26.6 PPG, Highest Average 36.4 PPG, Career High 61 PTS, 2 Scoring Titles, Both in that decade)

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  1. Pingback: The Top 10 Leading Scorers Of The Legendary 2005-06 NBA Season – Fadeaway World

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