Throughout NBA history, basketball fans have witnessed the best talents and most dominant scorers take the hardwood. I mean, it's not easy to stand out from the rest of the pack if you consider that you're playing against top-notch competition.
More impressively, a handful of players have been able to be a consistent scoring threat over more than a decade in the league. Not many players can average 20 points per game once, let alone over a 10-year span, and that's what makes them so special.
Today, we're going to honor those current and former players, letting you know about the top 20 all-time leading scorers in NBA history.
20. Alex English - 25,613 Points
Alex English is one of the most entertaining players no one seems to talk about right now. During his prime, he was one of the most versatile offensive weapons you could find around the league, even winning the Scoring title in the 1982-83 season.
English averaged double-digits in all but 3 seasons in his career. He averaged 21.5 points per game on 50.7% shooting throughout his 16 years in the NBA. Nonetheless, his lack of success in the playoffs made most fans forget about how good of a scorer he was.
19. Vince Carter - 25,728 Points
Well, for a guy who played with or against half of the league, you would expect Vince Carter to be a bit higher on this list. Then again, we also have to consider that he took a lesser role over the past 5 or 6 years of his long and impressive career.
Back in the day, Vince Carter was one of the most explosive and athletic players in the world. He was a human highlight reel and you never knew what he was going to do go amaze you next. He's one of the greatest dunkers to ever live.
18. Kevin Garnett - 26,071 Points
Kevin Garnett is the true definition of toughness. He was fierce, ruthless, and a guy that was willing to put his body on the line on every single possession. He could lock you up on defense and swat your shot away and then put up 27 points on the other end.
For most of his career, Garnett's talents went to waste because of the Minnesota Timberwolves' struggles. That's why, even if he wasn't a pure scorer, he had to carry the load in the offense more often than not. He's one of the few players to ever win the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards.
17. John Havlicek - 26,395 Points
John Havlicek is one of the biggest responsible for the Boston Celtics' success. He's one of the players who made them the winningest franchise in NBA history thanks to his commitment, grit, grind, and impact on both ends of the floor.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about John Havlicek is that he was a better defender than a scorer, yet he still made this scorers' list and averaged 20.8 points per game. He helped the Celtics win 8 NBA Championships, made 8 All-Defensive squads and was named Finals MVP in 1974.
16. Paul Pierce - 26,397 Points
Paul Pierce has always been a bit of a trash talker. He talks a big game because he backed it up on the court, and even if he didn't have a better career than Dwyane Wade as he claims, he did score way more points than him, even cracking the top 20 of all time.
Pierce had the clutch gene, that's for sure. He made a living out of knocking down big shot after big shot, especially from beyond the arc. He wasn't fast or athletic but made up for it with a pure jump shot and the smoothest release you'll see.
15. Tim Duncan - 26,494 Points
The fact that Tim Duncan was never actually considered a scorer and he still made it to the top 15 is an indictment of his greatness. Duncan is one of the savviest and smartest players in basketball history and his durability and consistency helped him crack this list.
Duncan was mostly known for his defense and rebounding skills and his offense wasn't exactly pretty to watch, but his bank shots were money every single time. His mid-range and post-game were elite and he's the main reason why the San Antonio Spurs have 5 rings.
14. Dominique Wilkins - 26,668 Points
There have been many players with a similar career to Dominique Wilkin's. They dominate and carry the load for their teams but their lack of silverware - or the fact that they coexisted with other greats - often leaves them behind in the 'best players ever' conversation.
But make no mistake. There haven't been many players who could put the ball on the hoop as Wilkins could. He was incredibly athletic and savvy, an explosive dunker, and a guy who was going to get his way in the paint no matter what. He was a true scorer.
13. Carmelo Anthony - 26,697 Points
Carmelo Anthony is one of the greatest and most versatile scorers of all time and it's not even close. He would be ranked way higher in this list if the teams hadn't kept him away from the game for over a year, and he deserves a huge apology for that.
Anthony went from being an athletic freak and an explosive scorer and dunker to developing a well all-around offensive game. He's been called a ball-stopper because of his constant jab steps and ball-fakes, but you can't deny he's a walking bucket.
12. Oscar Robertson - 26,710 Points
If you like Russell Westbrook then you would've loved to watch Oscar Robertson, the original Mr. Triple Double. over his career, he was known around the league for being the ultimate stat sheet-stuffer and making an impact on every aspect of the game.
Oscar Robertson was an aggressive driver and his athleticism gave him a huge edge over his defenders. He was a willing playmaker as well, averaging 9.5 assists per game over his career and leading the league in dimes in six different seasnos.
11. Hakeem Olajuwon - 26,946 Points
Hakeem Olajuwon is one of the most skilled players to ever live. His foot-work set the standard for all the big men who came after him, up to the point where they still study his movements and even reach out to him to train them in the offseason.
Olajuwon was a treat to the eyes. His signature 'Dream-Shake' made a fool out of the best rim protectors in the league every single night. To make him even more impressive, he was a lockdown defender and one of the best shot-blockers of all time.
10. Elvin Hayes - 27,313 Points
It's crazy to think that a player could win the Scoring title as a rookie. Well, that was the case with Elvin Hayes, who averaged 28.4 points per game during the 1968-69 season with the San Diego Rockets. For some, that was the peak of his career.
While Hayes' numbers took a slight dip afterward, he was still one of the best players in the league during his time, especially when it came to rebounding and playing defense. His grit and grind on both ends of the floor helped the Washington Bullets win the NBA Championship in 1978.
9. Moses Malone - 27,409 Points
Moses Malone is one of those few players who spent his entire career in his prime. People - and even his teams - expected him to fall off a cliff and that just never happened. He kept the foot on the gas and torched his rivals from start to finish.
Despite being undersized, Malone was the ultimate ruler of the glass. He led the league in rebounds per game 6 times and averaged 20.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. He was a sweet finisher above and below the rim and had no off hand, to be honest.
8. Shaquille O'Neal - 28,596 Points
When people refer to you as the most dominant big man ever, then you know you've been pretty good. That's why Shaquille O'Neal often brags about his 'G-14 Certification' to talk about his colleagues. He's earned his stripes and his respect.
Shaquille O'Neal was the most unstoppable player in the league in his prime. He was an explosive force of nature not even the strongest players on earth could keep in check. But he was way more than just his physical gifts, as he was skilled, had elite footwork, and was quite smart as well.
7. Wilt Chamberlain - 31,419 Points
Wilt Chamberlain isn't only the most athletic player in NBA (and basketball) history. He may be the most athletic human being ever. He played volleyball professionally, did parkour, and broke countless records that aren't likely to ever be topped.
Chamberlain made the most of his physical traits to dominate the NBA at will. He put up videogame-like numbers night in and night out, and is the only player in NBA history to ever score 100 points. He was stronger, bigger, and faster than everybody else on the court.
6. Dirk Nowitzki - 31,560 Points
Dirk Nowitzki is a guy who beat the odds every night out there. No one expected him to be that good and he's arguably the greatest foreign player in NBA history. Also, he's one of the most influential players of all time for the way he changed the power forward spot.
Dirk set the bar for the modern big. He had the green light to shoot from beyond the arc and had one of the smoothest and most beautiful jump shots of all time. He may not be athletic but he was tough as nails and the kind of scorer that could go off any given night.
5. Michael Jordan - 32,292 Points
There's no doubt that Michael Jordan could've been the NBA's all-time leading scorer if it wasn't for his early retirements. He could've even won a couple of more rings and MVPs as well, but hey, I guess we'll never know that for a fact.
Michael Jordan is the most dominant scorer to ever live. He holds the highest career points-per-game average at 30.1 and won an NBA-record 10 Scoring titles. The most impressive part is that he didn't even rely on the three-point shot to do his damage.
4. Kobe Bryant - 33,643 Points
In a world where everybody wanted to be like Michael Jordan, just Kobe Bryant actually had the courage to pull it off. He mimicked his game to number 23's and made his moves even better, which is someone no one ever thought was even possible.
Kobe Bryant was the most competitive person to ever set foot on an NBA hardwood. He was as dominant as they come and a guy who could play lockdown defense and then go off for 40 points. His 81-point performance is still the second-highest of all time.
3. LeBron James - 34,819 Points
Even before he made his debut as a professional, people were referring to LeBron James as 'The Chosen One'. Well, he's definitely lived up to the hype and expectation that surrounded him when he entered the league in 2003. He's even surpassed them.
LeBron James is a lock to finish his career as the all-time leading scorer in NBA history. Ironically, he's never been considered a pure scorer, even though he holds a career average of 27.0 points per game. That speaks volumes of how versatile he is.
2. Karl Malone - 36,928 Points
People don't talk enough or often about Karl Malone because of the questionable life decisions he made. But if we were to discuss his existence from a mere basketball standpoint, there's no denying that he's one of the greatest to ever do it.
The Mailman always delivered. Malone was an unstoppable player in the post and he could just outhustle anybody in the paint. His jump shot is an underrated part of his repertoire and his athleticism and footwork made him a nightmare for opposing defenders.
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 38,387 Points
People never bring up Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's name when talking about the greatest player of all time, which doesn't make sense to me. He won 6 rings, an NBA-record 6 MVP awards, led the league in blocks 4 times, and is the all-time leading scorer. What more do you need?
More than that, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a bonafide winner. He made sure to deliver at every single stage and made an impact on both ends of the floor. He was an example of durability and his signature skyhook is still one of the most unstoppable shots in the league.