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20 Players With The Most Points In NBA History (Regular Season And Playoffs Combined)

20 Players With The Most Points In NBA History (Regular Season And Playoffs Combined)

Holding record-breaking scoring stats over a player’s career is an extraordinary achievement, and only the best players of all time manage to achieve records that have truly stood the test of time. We have compiled a list of the highest-scorers in NBA history, where offensive players went ballistic on the court over their careers en route to spectacular showings on the stat sheets year after year. However, it must be known that only one particular player holds the single greatest scoring record in NBA history, in terms of being the all-time leading scorer in the playoff and regular-season history. The player is none other than LeBron James, the small forward whose career is filled with a host of unbreakable records since the start of his professional career. By gathering stats of the greatest scorers in NBA history, we have collected the best offensive players ever based on their total points scored in both the playoffs and the regular season.

Most of these names will be easily recognizable because they are regarded as some of the greatest offensive players to ever play basketball. Of course, it is obvious that names such as Wilt Chamberlain appear. Wilt was the most dominant physical specimen in NBA history and should likely finish somewhere in the top 10. Other names such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are expected to appear, along with the all-time regular-season scorer in NBA history, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. By taking into account the game’s greatest scorers who have ever lived, here are the greatest scorers in NBA history in terms of total points scored.

20. Reggie Miller - 28,251 Points

Reggie Miller

Total Games: 1,533

Points Per Game: 18.4

One of the most clutch players of all time and a man who made his name in the playoffs, Reggie Miller is greatly synonymous with being a great scorer because of his incredible shooting ability. Had Reggie played in today’s game, he would have likely challenged Stephen Curry in terms of the most threes made because he was the cream of the crop as a shooter. With elite marksmanship, Reggie could get his points rather easily and especially when he started feeling a rhythm. His regular-season average of 18.2 PPG is nice, but his playoff record of 20.6 PPG shows how Miller was always better in the postseason.

Miller was a fantastic shooter, and his shots became more likely to fall whenever his team needed him most. Thanks to Reggie’s consistency as a shooter and all-around scorer, the Indiana Pacers had multiple playoff runs which is why the shooting guard ranks 1st all-time in playoff points for the franchise. Reggie is also ranked 20th all-time in total points scored when taking into account the regular season and the postseason. No doubt about it, Miller always played best in the biggest moments.

19. Oscar Robertson - 28,620 Points

Oscar Robertson

Total Games: 1,126

Points Per Game: 25.4

Oscar Robertson occupies the top-10 list of all-time greats for some people, although he normally falls somewhere in the top 15 at the very least when looking at his numbers and career as a whole. Simply an incredible all-around athlete with natural scoring ability, Oscar is the leading playoff scorer in Kings’ history despite only playing in 39 playoff games with the franchise. In the all-time rankings, the “Big O” is ranked 19th all-time when looking at his regular season and playoff scoring numbers. His regular-season average of 25.7 PPG is impressive, but so is his playoff record of 22.2 PPG.

Quite frankly, Oscar was a once-in-a-lifetime talent, and the way he scored looked so effortless. Standing 6’5” with a ton of athleticism including agility, speed, and strength, Robertson made the game look simple when he attacked the rim and spotted up for jumpers. There is a reason why Robertson has a resume that includes 10 straight seasons of averaging at least 24 PPG. With an impressive playoff scoring average, Robertson has to go down as one of the all-time great playoff performers regardless of era.

18. Kevin Garnett - 28,672 Points

Kevin Garnett

Total Games: 1,605

Points Per Game: 17.9

The Big Ticket himself, Kevin Garnett had one of the most incredible runs with one franchise in NBA history. Despite not being surrounded by exceptional talent, Garnett consistently led the Minnesota Timberwolves into the playoffs due to his superstar two-way play in his prime. In 47 postseason games, Garnett has scored over 1,000 points for the franchise. But KG also had success as a member of the Boston Celtics, capturing the NBA title in 2008 and also scoring 1,469 points with the legendary franchise. He also had one postseason appearance as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, when he scored 83 points during the playoffs in the 2014 season.

KG was never a power player because of his slender physique, but he could score inside through his aggression and also nail the mid-range jumper rather consistently. Garnett was not much of a three-point shooter, but he never needed to be because of his efficiency at the top of the key and on the block. Garnett’s regular-season average of 17.8 PPG on 49.7% shooting is impressive, and so is his playoff average of 18.2 PPG on 47.8% from the field. No doubt about it, Garnett is one of the best power forwards ever and also one of the best scorers ever from his position.

17. Moses Malone - 29,486 Points

Moses Malone

Total Games: 1,423

Points Per Game: 20.7

Moses Malone is one of the most consistent paint scorers we have ever seen. The center averaged 20.3 PPG on 49.5% shooting from the field and 76.0% from the line over his career, making it difficult to stop him from getting whatever he wanted at the rim. Competing in 21 seasons, Moses was a stalwart in the paint for over two decades across stints with 9 different franchises. Of course, Malone is mainly known for being a superstar center for the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers.

Malone averaged at least 20 PPG in his prime with ease, because his focus and determination to score around the rim usurped his natural athletic ability and size. The Hall of Famer stood 6’10” and weighed 215 lbs, meaning he had the strength to finish around the rim but Moses wanted it more than his opponent. With a whopping 13 All-Star Team appearances to his name, it was clear the big man had a knack for going off on the offensive side of the floor as he averaged at least 20 PPG 11 times in his career in the regular season. In the postseason, Moses had a career average of 22.1 PPG on 48.7% from the field, taking his numbers up in the biggest stages, hallmarks of an all-time great player.

16. Elvin Hayes - 29,507 Points

Elvin Hayes

Total Games: 1,399

Points Per Game: 21.1

Elvin Hayes is one of the greatest big men of his generation, and arguably the best player in Wizards’ history alongside Wes Unseld. Elvin Hayes was a force on both ends of the floor, although he ranks 16th all-time in total points scored. The big man knew how to use his body and his soft touch around the rim to score easy points, a reason why he almost managed 2,194 points scored in the postseason. During the regular season, Hayes managed to accumulate 27,313 points which is truly impressive for a 6’9” power forward and center.

Hayes was a consistent force for the Washington Bullets and also the San Diego Rockets, winning the scoring title in his rookie season and also earning his greatest achievement in 1978 when he won the NBA title with the Washington Bullets at the expense of the Seattle SuperSonics. The big man was an easy choice for the San Diego Rockets with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1968 NBA Draft because he would go on to have a first-ballot Hall of Fame career. Of course, Hayes sits firmly as a member of the original 50 Greatest Players of All Time and is therefore a member of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team. Hayes’ scoring was a major reason why he earned his place because he was automatic in the post.

15. Paul Pierce - 29,577 Points

Paul Pierce

Total Games: 1,513

Points Per Game: 19.5

Paul Pierce had a proven track record of remaining loyal to the Boston Celtics as their primary corer and clutch performer for years. "The Truth" was rewarded for his efforts when he won Finals MVP with a Boston Celtics team that featured Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo. But even before his championship was won, Pierce made his name as an unbelievably talented scorer and shooter. Despite lacking explosiveness and athleticism, Pierce knew how to use his body to hold off defenders to get his shots up. Armed with a patented stepback jumper and a strong physique to take hits around the rim, the small forward was consistent in making shots.

Pierce averaged 44.7% from the field, 37.0% from three, and 80.6% from the free-throw line over his 15 seasons with the Celtics. In his playoff career, The Truth averaged 18.7 PPG on 42.3% from the field, 35.5% from three, and 83.0% from the line. There is no doubt that Pierce is one of the best scorers of his era because he also turned up his scoring when it mattered most. The small forward has to be one of Boston’s all-time great scorers and that is why he is considered one of the top 75 players ever.

14. Jerry West - 29,649 Points

Jerry West

Total Games: 1,085

Points Per Game: 27.3

Jerry West, the NBA’s logo, is an all-time great player and Lakers legend who is easily a top-4 shooting guard in NBA history. After Oscar stuffed the stat sheets for so long, no one thought that another guard would ever lead the NBA in scoring and assists, but West did it over his career. Jerry West led the NBA in scoring in 1970 by averaging 31.2 PPG and led the NBA in assists in 1972 with an average of 9.7 APG. Clearly an elite facilitator, West was simply an all-time scorer, and his ability to get buckets had to be his best trait. The shooting guard was also efficient, averaging 27.0 PPG on 47.4% shooting over his career.

In most circumstances, Jerry West could not be defended one on one, and if he had breathing room to get off a jumper, it was a done deal that the ball was swishing through the net. The NBA’s logo had 3 seasons averaging over 31 PPG and only averaged under 20 PPG once in his career (his rookie season averaging 17.6 PPG). Jerry was simply a once-in-a-lifetime star and his shooting numbers are clearly evident of that. That is why it is no surprise that West scored over 29,000 points in his career which spanned 14 years in the regular season and 13 years in the playoffs.

13. Kevin Durant - 30,085 Points

Kevin Durant

Total Games: 1,094

Points Per Game: 27.5

The way Kevin Durant decides to handle his career still rubs people the wrong way until today, but there is no denying he is an all-time great talent and scorer. A 6’10” scorer with a wingspan extending to over 7 feet, we have not seen a more lethal offensive weapon than the 4-time scoring champion before. That is why Durant ranks among the top 15 in total points scored when taking into account the regular season and playoffs. The superstar forward has the all-time great scoring ability, and he has yet to slow down as he approached age 34.

Durant is such a great scorer, that his career numbers do not even do him justice. Over his regular-season career, the forward is averaging 27.2 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 4.3 APG while shooting 49.6% from the field, 38.4% from three, and 88.4% from the stripe. KD’s playoff averages are also impressive, as they stand at 29.4 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 4.1 APG on 47.6% from the field, 35.6% from three, and 86.6% from the line. Clearly, his efficiency is off the charts and KD has a chance to climb the rankings before his career is up.

12. John Havlicek - 30,171 Points

john havlicek

Total Games: 1,442

Points Per Game: 20.9

Superstar John Havlicek is an exceptional leader and one of the most dominant players on the NBA court we have ever seen in terms of the amount of winning in the NBA. His scoring ability was truly exceptional, and he is one of the best to ever wear the Boston Celtics uniform. A whopping 8 NBA titles came as a result, mainly, from Havlicek’s presence as a scoring forward. The 6’5” superstar averaged 43.9% over his career and 81.5% from the stripe, numbers which do not leap out in terms of efficiency. But Havlicek was a dominant scorer in his prime, putting up over 20 PPG for 8 straight seasons and even averaging his career-high 28.9 PPG in the 1971 season.

The following year, the Celtics superstar averaged 27.5 PPG while making his 7th straight All-Star appearance. In terms of the greatest players in Boston Celtics history, Havlicek ranks among the very top because his scoring ability and leadership were almost second to none. In his playoff career, “Hondo” averaged 22.0 PPG on 43.6% from the field and 83.6% from the free-throw line. His career spanned 16 years and his postseason career spanned 13 seasons, giving him the time to take his scoring numbers to another level. Despite playing his last game in the 1978 season, Havlicek ranks 12th all-time in total points scored.

11. Carmelo Anthony - 30,203 Points

Carmelo Anthony

Total Games: 1,343

Points Per Game: 22.5

One of the greatest and most iconic scorers of his generation, Carmelo Anthony has to be included in most all-time lists when it comes to scoring. Drafted No. 3 overall, Anthony was expected to be a superstar and achieved that in just a few years. The forward made All-Rookie Team by averaging 21.0 PPG and would go on to have 14 straight seasons averaging over 20 PPG. An elite scorer from the perimeter and in the post, Carmelo also made the NBA 75th Anniversary Team due to his naturally gifted offensive ability.

Anthony is averaging 22.5 PPG on 44.7% from the field, 35.5% from three, and 81.4% from the line over his career so far. In the playoffs, Carmelo is averaging 23.1 PPG on 41.4% FG, 32.4% 3-PT FG, and 82.6% FT. Anthony had a knack for scoring in bunches in the biggest moments and has to be one of the most clutch scorers ever as a result. Anthony scored over 30,000 points in his career, an incredible achievement from an incredible offensive talent.

10. Hakeem Olajuwon - 30,701 Points

Hakeem Olajuwon

Total Games: 1,383

Points Per Game: 22.2

Arguably the most unstoppable center in the post, Hakeem “The Dream” had every move on the block from pump fakes to turnaround jumpers. That is the reason why he scored over 3,700 playoff points for the Houston Rockets and also scored over 30,000 combined points in his career. The superstar big man was unstoppable for most of his career, but even more so in his prime. He had countless playoff runs where he averaged at least 22 PPG and had two seasons posting at least 33 PPG. His best postseason, scoring-wise, came during the 1988 season when Hakeem dropped 37.5 PPG on 57.1% shooting.

Of course, The Dream’s offensive prowess was the main reason the Houston Rockets won two straight NBA titles thanks to the big man’s leadership. With a whopping 145 playoff games played in his career, Olajuwon will likely control the top-15 rankings ever because he had the best mix of inside scoring skills that we have ever seen. The highlights speak for themselves because Hakeem always found a way to embarrass top defenders with his moves, a major reason why his scoring record is all-time great.

9. Tim Duncan - 31,668 Points

Tim Duncan 2009

Total Games: 1,643

Points Per Game: 19.3

The greatest power forward of all time and the catalyst behind a San Antonio Spurs dynasty that lasted almost two decades, Tim Duncan dominated the paint for years as a member of the Gregg Popovich-led squads that featured other Hall of Fame talents including David Robinson, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Kawhi Leonard. Without a doubt, Duncan was the most talented and most important player in the dynasty and also their best-ever scorer. Many might not put Tim’s scoring as his best attribute, but it certainly was even if his defense overshadowed it.

In a whopping 251 playoff appearances, Duncan scored over 5,000 points in the playoffs thanks to his size and elite post-moves. The Big Fundamental was known for his ability to use the backboard on his jumpers, and his lower body strength also gave him the option to get easy layups whenever he wanted to. Even if Duncan was a superstar defensive player, his offense was arguably just as great and his scoring record shows it. Duncan averaged 19.0 PPG on 50.6% from the field during the regular season and added 20.6 PPG on 50.1% from the field in the playoffs.

8. Shaquille O’Neal - 33,846 Points

Shaquille O’Neal

Total Games: 1,423

Points Per Game: 23.8

The most dominant force in the modern era, Shaquille O’Neal changed the game due to his brute strength and raw power. The Diesel was unstoppable down low, using his physical advantages to destroy defenses and lead the offense every night. Shaq also had a long career that spanned 19 seasons, and he finished with a regular-season average of 23.7 PPG on 58.2% from the field. Hilariously, O’Neal was a putrid free-throw shooter, only nailing 52.7% of his shots over his career. But O’Neal made his free throws when they counted, and he would make a habit of going 1-2 on almost every occasion.

That worked considering Shaq scored so easily in the paint every time, and he often led his teams to championship success as a result. O’Neal won 3 straight Finals MVPs and 4 championships with his style of play, so no one could argue it worked. Shaq did not always make it look pretty, but his scoring style worked when his team needed buckets. O’Neal finished his career with a playoff scoring average of 24.3 PPG on 56.3% from the field, once again failing to shoot at least 60% from the stripe but still finishing 8th all-time in points scored.

7. Wilt Chamberlain - 35,026 Points

Wilt Chamberlain

Total Games: 1,205

Points Per Game: 29.1

The man who once scored 100 points in a single game, Wilt Chamberlain is unsurprisingly among the top-10 ever in total points scored. The superstar center was a force, unlike anyone we have ever seen because he played in an era where almost every player against him was miniature and unable to handle the physicality the center brought. Chamberlain still had to go out and dominate, and he certainly did. Just look at his numbers and it will be clear that scoring the ball was extremely easy for the center. Chamberlain still holds the record for most points scored in a season with a 50.4 PPG average.

But Wilt was not only a regular-season offensive star, because he had plenty of chances in the playoffs to pad his scoring stats. Chamberlain competed in 13 postseason appearances with 3 different teams including the Los Angeles Lakers, San Francisco Warriors, and Philadelphia 76ers, finishing his career with a postseason average of 22.5 PPG on 52.2% from the field. Of course, Chamberlain was better in the regular season with an average of 30.1 PPG on 54.0% from the field. Sure, Wilt only shot at least 60% from the free-throw line once in his career, but he was still able to finish his career as one of the most dominant scorers ever.

6. Dirk Nowitzki - 35,233 Points

Dirk Nowitzki

Total Games: 1,667

Points Per Game: 21.1

Just as many think of Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls or Hakeem Olajuwon with the Houston Rockets the player that comes to mind when thinking of the Dallas Mavericks is none other than Dirk Nowitzki. The unstoppable German delivered the elusive NBA title to Dallas in 2011 and is regarded as one of the top-5 power forwards ever. Armed with his one-legged fadeaway, Dirk accumulated over 3,000 playoff points in an efficient manner for the franchise that took him No. 9 overall in the 1998 NBA Draft. But when adding in his regular-season scoring exploits, it is clear the German is a one-of-a-kind offensive talent with incredible offensive moves.

For one, Nowitzki is one of the greatest shooters ever, nailing 36.5% of his playoff threes over his career, and also shooting over 89% from the stripe. Nowitzki made the playoffs 15 times with the Mavericks, giving him the opportunity to accumulate an incredible amount of points. In his regular-season career, Dirk had an average of 20.7 PPG on a very efficient 47.1% from the field, 38.0% from three, and 87.9% from the free-throw line. We have yet to see a more unstoppable power forward when his shots are falling, which is why he is behind Michael Jordan in the all-time rankings and just outside the top 5.

5. Michael Jordan - 38,279 Points

Michael Jordan

Total Games: 1,251

Points Per Game: 30.6

Is there any surprise that the legendary Chicago Bulls star appears in the top 5? Widely considered the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan was a dominant scorer for the Bulls dynasty that won 6 NBA championships in 6 Finals appearances. With so many deep playoff runs, it is no wonder MJ almost had 6,000 playoff points in his career with the Bulls. Year after year, Jordan terrorized defenses with his athleticism and scoring ability. It is very hard to name a better mid-range scorer than MJ because he could pull off his patented fadeaway anytime he wanted. Of course, he was just as deadly when he attacked the basket.

Jordan was so great, that his scoring numbers for the Bulls rank 1st all-time for an individual player on a particular franchise. No player dominated the scoring charts like MJ did, because his mix of elite athleticism and offensive talent will stand the test of time. It is unfortunate that Jordan had to basically waste two years of his prime due to early retirement because he would have found a way to accumulate more points on his tremendous record. Still, he remains a top-5 scorer of all time.

4. Kobe Bryant - 39,283 Points

Kobe Bryant

Total Games: 1,566

Points Per Game: 25.1

Quite possibly the greatest Los Angeles Laker of all time, Kobe Bryant is one of the top-five greatest scorers in NBA history in terms of total points scored. A killer competitor and all-time great scorer, The Black Mamba was in the playoffs for the Lakers as quickly as his rookie campaign. After a slow start to his career, Kobe became a playoff stalwart who made the postseason 15 years out of the 20 he played for the Purple and Gold. That gave him plenty of time to accumulate points, and his playoff scoring average remained at 25.6 PPG on 44.8% from the field, 33.1% from three, and 81.6% from the free-throw line.

Bryant, with his 5 championship rings and 2 Finals MVP awards, is one of the most iconic and respected basketball players ever. It was his scoring that gave him so much success in the NBA, and his teams would often win when Bryant went off on the scoring charts. Remember, this is the same shooting guard who once scored 81 points in a single game and also won 2 scoring titles. Bryant’s regular-season average of 25.0 PPG on 44.7% shooting from the field over 20 years is extremely impressive and gave him the chance to climb the all-time charts as he sits 4th all-time in points scored.

3. Karl Malone - 41,689 Points

Karl Malone

Total Games: 1,669

Points Per Game: 25.0

Unsurprisingly, Karl Malone headlines the top-3 list of all the great scorers in NBA history. A powerhouse power forward with broad shoulders and a Greek God-like physique, Karl Malone was one of the most unstoppable scorers ever. In 193 playoff games, The Mailman scored over 4,700 points which is ahead of a ton of all-time great players including Kevin Durant and Jerry West. Somehow, Karl Malone could not win an NBA title despite being an all-time great scorer and having arguably the best assist man ever in John Stockton by his side. Of course, that was mainly because of Michael Jordan because he lost to him twice in the Finals.

Nonetheless, The Mailman was a powerhouse in the paint, but his mid-range shooting was often underappreciated. He was automatic from that area when he received passes from John Stockton, and there was no way of slowing him down when he engaged in the pick-and-roll. Malone had a very long career spanning 19 seasons, so his consistency as a scoring presence truly set him apart from almost every other player. An elite scorer who ranks 3rd all-time in total points scored, Karl Malone will likely hold the Jazz’s top spot as the franchise’s greatest player as well.

2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 44,149 Points

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Total Games: 1,797

Points Per Game: 24.6

The NBA’s all-time leading regular-season scorer is second on the all-time points scored list when taking into account playoffs as well. The legendary center had the most unstoppable shot in NBA history in the sky hook, and he used it to terrorize defenders for years as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers. There hasn’t been a shot as deadly as Kareem’s sky hook because it was unblockable and the big man could pull it off anytime he wanted. That is a reason why Kareem has a career average of 24.6 PPG on 55.9% shooting from the field and 72.1% from the free-throw line.

Abdul-Jabbar’s numbers in the postseason are also impressive, as he averaged 24.3 PPG on 53.3% from the field. The fact that a center could average over 24 PPG consistently in games and still shoot over 50% is extremely impressive, and that is why he held the record for most points scored until this season. Kareem had all-time great longevity as well, competing for 20 years in the NBA and doing so at an elite level. Even when the big man was older and no longer a superstar, he could still let the sky hook fly and it was always deadly. But only one man is ahead of Kareem on the all-time scoring list.

1. LeBron James - 44,693 Points

LeBron James 2020

Total Games: 1,632

Points Per Game: 27.4

Just this past season, LeBron James managed to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most total points scored during the regular season and playoffs. Amazingly, The King is mainly considered a pass-first player but still managed to score over 44,000 points over his 19 seasons in the league. Somehow, James is not mentioned among the all-time great scorers in NBA history as he is always mentioned behind guys like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, and Kevin Durant among others. No matter what the eye test tells you, it is obvious that stats do not lie and James has surpassed all those names to climb the all-time rankings and remain firmly at number one. It is anticipated that no player will ever eclipse James for the record of most points scored in the regular season and postseason.

Amazingly, King James also has a chance to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the greatest regular-season scorer of all time. Once he adds that to his resume, it will be hard to leave LeBron James out of the discussion for the best scorers ever. His longevity and ability to stay healthy are truly unprecedented because we have not seen a player play for as long as great as James has. As a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James holds the record for the most points scored ever and that will likely never change. 


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Kobe Bryant’s Career-High Against Every NBA Team: 81 Points Against The Raptors Are The Record Of The 21st Century

Wilt Chamberlain's Career-High Against Every NBA Team: 100 Points Against The Knicks Are Still Unbelievable

Shaquille O'Neal's Career-High Against Every NBA Team: Shaq Destroyed The Clippers With 61 Points On His Birthday

Highest PPG At Every Age: Kobe Bryant Holds The Record As 18-Year-Old, Michael Jordan As 34-Year-Old, LeBron James As 37-Year-Old