The game of basketball has a lot of plays where one player can stand more than others depending on their quality. You can be a good rebounder, passer, a defender, whatever you want, but in the end, the team that scores more points wins the game.
Being a scorer is something that not many can brag about. The NBA has featured the greatest players of all time and of course, the most gifted scorers ever left their mark on the league. Several players scored a lot of points that served their teams to win championships or put them as one of the bests ever.
Today, we’re going to take a look at the career points hierarchy. Players who joined exclusive clubs during their careers, getting collective and individual honors for their performances and the way they shoot the ball, attack the rim or find ways to score.
+20,000 PTS Club:
Patrick Ewing, Ray Allen, Allen Iverson, Charles Barkley, Robert Parish, Adrian Dantley, Dwyane Wade, Elgin Baylor, Kevin Durant, Clyde Drexler, Gary Payton, Larry Bird, Hal Greer, Walt Bellamy, Pau Gasol, Bob Pettit, David Robinson, James Harden, George Gervin, Mitch Richmond, Joe Johnson, Russell Westbrook, Tom Chambers, Antawn Jamison
The first floor of this pyramid features great names, some players that carried their teams to play for big things, some winning, some losing. In the end, all those efforts put them here, in the +20K-point club. Big men, forwards, guards, a variety of players made it here, in a club that most would kill to join.
Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Pau Gasol, David Robinson and co. earned their life near the paint; they didn’t need many 3-pointers to be part of the biggest scorers in NBA history, just like Russell Westbrook now, another member of this group. Ray Allen, Allen Iverson, Dwyane Wade and Joe Johnson had more weapons to use, and they were actually more gifted from 3. Unlike AI, having other stars by their side perhaps damage their chances to rank higher on this list, but there is no doubt that these guys could score.
If we talk about current stars, Kevin Durant and James Harden are also part of this list. They are considered the greatest scorers in the NBA at this moment, so it won’t be a shock if we see them in a different club when they finish their careers. KD and the Beard can do anything to score, the question now is who is going to rank higher when their careers are over.
+25,000 PTS Club:
Shaquille O’Neal, Moses Malone, Elvin Hayes, Hakeem Olajuwon, Oscar Robertson, Dominique Wilkins, Tim Duncan, Paul Pierce, John Havlicek, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Garnett, Vince Carter, Alex English, Reggie Miller, Jerry West
The +25K-point club features a lot of power forwards and centers, players with a certain style of play that didn’t get much more than the magic number of 25,000 points during their careers. Shaquille O’Neal, Moses Malone or Hakeem Olajuwon were players that always liked to attack the rim; they were beasts at the paint.
Other players like Tim Duncan, Paul Pierce, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Garnett, Vince Carter or Reggie Miller had more variety in their arsenal. Sure, Miller was a killer from deep, but he didn’t hesitate to attack the rim when he saw an open path. TD, Pierce and the others were known for playing near the paint, but they also managed to shoot mid-range and 3-pointers every now and then.
+30,000 PTS Club:
Karl Malone, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Dirk Nowitzki, Wilt Chamberlain
This club isn’t as exclusive as the last one, but anybody who wants to be part of it still has to put a lot of work to be accompanied by these great players. Here we found the closest player to the first tier, Karl Malone, who scored 36,928 points, LeBron James (34,087), Kobe Bryant (33,643), Michael Jordan (32,292), Dirk Nowitzki (31,560) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,149).
These guys took advantage of their position, their height, their power on the court and even some signature moves that got them a lot of points. Something interesting about this list is that it includes Wilt Chamberlain, who has the record for points scored in a single NBA season, with 4,029 points in the 1961–62 season.
+38,000 PTS Club:
The top of this list only features one name, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Over a 20-year career, Abdul-Jabbar became one of the best players of all time with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers. On his way to winning six championships in the NBA, Kareem scored 38,387 points, a record that seems unbreakable right now. Other players have been close to KAJ, but they’ve been unable to dethrone the big man.
Curiously, Abdul-Jabbar only won the NBA scoring championship twice, in 1971 and 1972. Still, consistency was the key for him; he averaged 24.2 points per game in 1560 matches played in the association.
Now LeBron James has a chance to get close to him, but we still have to wait and see if the King will have a good case to surpass Kareem, just like he did with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Meanwhile, the Big ‘A’ remains atop this list.