With Lebron James approaching the story, many basketball fans are curious as to who the all-time NBA scoring leaders are. Well, you can end your search here with our comprehensive look at the top 25 goalscorers in league history.
Unsurprisingly, many NBA champions and all-stars rank among the all-time top scorers. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the current scoring king and the other 24 players on the NBA All Time Points Leaders list.
Also Read: Top 20 NBA Players of All Time
Who has the highest score in NBA history?
For nearly 20 years, Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain held the record for most points scored in league history. The mark of the man who once scored 100 points in one game at once seemed insurmountable. That was until Lou Alcindor joined the league in 1969 and began carving his own legendary path.
It took the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers legend, who would eventually be known as Kareem Abdul Jabbar, 15 seasons to surpass Chamberlain on the NBA’s all-time all-time leader list. He became the new top scorer in April 1984 and continued to build that tally for five more seasons before ending his career with an absurd 38,387 points scored.
Who are the top 25 NBA all-time scorers?
There have been many NBA competitors who have been talented scorers. However, of the thousands of players who have progressed through the league over the past 70 years, few have been able to score at a consistently high level for more than a few seasons.
New York Knicks star Patrick Ewing, Houston Rockets icon Hakeem Olajuwon and five-time champion Tim Duncan are among the top 25 scorers of all time. Below is a look at players 25 through 11 on the NBA All Time Points Leaders list.
- 25. Ray Allen (24,505)
- 24. Patrick Ewing (24,815)
- 23.Jerry West (25,192)
- 22.Reggie Miller (25,279)
- 21. Alex English (25,613)
- 20. Vince Carter (25,728)
- 19. Kevin Garnet (26,071)
- 18. John Havlicek (26,395)
- 17. Paul Pierce (26,397)
- 16. Tim Duncan (26,496)
- 15. Dominique Wilkins (26,668)
- 14. Kevin Durant (26,684)
- 13. Oscar Robertson (26,710)
- 12. Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946)
- 11. Elvin Hayes (27,313)
NBA All-Time Scorers List: Top 10
There are 10 players who stand out from the rest when it comes to scoring points in the National Basketball Association. Let’s take a look at the 10 players who were the best scorers in NBA history.
10. Moses Malone (27.409)
One of the greatest great men in history, Moses Malone was a gifted goalscorer due to his uncanny ability to snap up offensive rebounds. The Rockets and 76ers great have the top 4 spots for offensive boards in a season as well as in a single game. Many of those rebounds led to second-chance hoops and an easy path to ending in the top 10 on the NBA all-time scoring list.
9. Carmelo Anthony (28,289)
Carmelo Anthony was a divisive talent, often derided for his lack of defensive effort. However, he will still stand as one of the most versatile half-pitch goalscorers the league has ever seen. He could post and use a variety of moves to get high-proof buckets, or pull up and hit a jumper from anywhere on the floor. Few were more versatile than Carmelo Anthony.
8. Shaquille O’Neal (28,596)
Shaquille O’Neal was a force of nature during his 20 years in the league, as no player in NBA history was a fierce competitor for the post of “The Diesel.” He was never a gifted marksman, but his outstanding touch and elite athleticism for his size had him bullying players in color on legendary runs with the Magic, Lakers, and Heat. One can only wonder how much higher up the list he would be if he weren’t a 58 percent career shooter from the free throw line.
7. Wilt Chamberlain (31.419)
Wilt Chamberlain was a pioneer of the sport and one of its first dominant forces. He was an All-Star in all 16 seasons he played and averaged over 30 points per game in his first nine seasons. Including a record that will never be surpassed when he averaged 50.4 points per game over 80 matchups in 1961-1962.
6. Dirk Nowitzki (31,560)
Dirk Nowitzki put international basketball on the NBA map like never before, and it was understandable why. The German had the shooting ability of Larry Bird in a body like Moses Malone. Once on and hitting his fadeaway jumper, he was pretty much unstoppable. Dirk Nowitzki changed the game forever and opened the door to the exploits of other talented big man shooters like Kevin Durant and Nikola Jokic.
5.Michael Jordan (32,292)
Michael Jordan is considered by many to be the greatest player in NBA history. However, he was not only a tenacious defender, a born leader and a ferocious winner, but also an excellent goalscorer. But coupled with his elite score, he could pull it off in the biggest moments and on the biggest stages. No player in the top 10 NBA points of all time was better than the Chicago Bulls legend.
4. Kobe Bryant (33,643)
Wilt Chamberlain has the record for most points in an NBA game with 100, but many consider Kobe Bryant’s 81-point feat in 2006 to be the highest-scoring game of all time. It was a showcase of his entire repertoire of scoring skills. There was nothing the gifted athlete and five-time champion couldn’t do when it came to scoring. And like his mentor, Michael Jordan, he was an amazing late-game shooter.
3. Karl Malone (36,928)
Until recently, Utah jazz icon Karl Malone was #2 on the all-time NBA points list. While Malone and teammate John Stockton are forever linked because of their pick-and-roll brilliance, it overshadows how talented a goalscorer Malone was. He could dominate with his size at the post, pull up and hit a J, or show his elite touch like Shaquille O’Neal at the basket. Malone was the all-time roundest post-scorer.
2. Lebron James (38,299)
There hasn’t been a player in NBA history like Lebron James. He joined the league in 2004 as an 18-year-old and, despite the ridiculous hype that surrounded him, delivered everything he could. Few players have had anywhere near the same drive to improve as he and the 18-time All-Star, who aged like fine wine. He went from being a freak athlete with amazing downhill skills to an amazing scorer who could shoot from anywhere on the ground.
Lebron James is also only the second player in NBA history to reach 38,000 points and will soon surpass the all-time mark.
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a very special goalscorer. But what makes his legend all the more intriguing is that his rise to the top of the NBA’s all-time scoring list came with the invention of a shot that not a few have taken before and never mastered since – the hook shot. While surpassed by James, Abdul-Jabbar’s stranglehold on the record remains one of the great feats in sports history.