Let’s investigate the top NBA players of all-time, in terms of scoring! These basketball legends have skyrocketed to the pinnacle of their sport. Let’s take a look at the data.
We have created a table to showcase the all-time highest scoring NBA players. The columns display the player’s name, total points scored, and the team they played for. This data is factual and accurate.
|Points Leaders (May 2023)|
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant are the players listed. All of them have impressed with their scoring ability and overall performance, becoming some of the greatest NBA players of all time.
Abdul-Jabbar is considered one of the best centers to play in NBA history, and James is praised for his versatility. There are remarkable stories behind each player’s journey. Such as Bryant playing through injuries to Abdul-Jabbar being diagnosed with leukemia. Stories that prove their determination and willpower.
These NBA legends have racked up numbers that even my calculator is intimidated by.
Top 10 NBA all-time scoring leaders
NBA players have always been a source of inspiration and admiration for basketball enthusiasts. The greatest of all time have left an indelible mark on the game and etched their names in history. Here’s a list of the top 10 NBA players who have scored the most points of all time.
- 1. LeBron James: Known for his versatility and dominance on the court, James has scored 38,652 points so far and shows no signs of slowing down.
- 2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: With a total of 38,387 points, Abdul-Jabbar holds the record for the highest scorer in NBA history.
- 3. Karl Malone: Nicknamed ‘The Mailman’, Malone scored 36,928 points throughout his career.
- 4. Kobe Bryant: With 33,643 points, Bryant was one of the most talented and skilled players the game has ever seen.
- 5. Michael Jordan: The legendary player who inspired a generation of basketball players, Jordan scored 32,292 points during his time in the NBA.
- 6. Dirk Nowitzki: The first non-American to reach the top 10, Nowitzki scored 31,560 points throughout his career.
- 7. Wilt Chamberlain: One of the most dominant players in the history of the game, Chamberlain scored 31,419 points.
- 8. Shaquille O’Neal: Nicknamed ‘Shaq’, O’Neal scored 28,596 points throughout his career.
- 9. Carmelo Anthony: One of the most skilled scorers in the history of the game Anthony scored 28,289 points in his career.
- 10. Moses Malone: A powerful and skilled player, Malone scored 27,409 points in his career.
Interestingly, many of these players were not only known for their scoring ability but also for their exemplary defensive skills and leadership qualities.
It is said that the top 10 players on this list have collectively scored over 336,000 points over the course of their careers. This truly speaks to their incredible talent and hard work that helped them achieve such great heights.
In 1971, the NBA introduced the three-point line, which changed the dynamics of the game and presented new challenges for players. As a result, many of the players on this list developed the ability to shoot from beyond the arc and adapted their game accordingly.
Overall, the top 10 NBA all-time scoring leaders have rightfully earned their places in basketball history and their achievements will continue to inspire generations of players to come.
1. LeBron James
LeBron James is an NBA legend, renowned for his exceptional skills and athleticism. Spanning 20 years, he has earned a place amongst the greatest basketball players ever. His scoring and playmaking prowess, coupled with leadership, make him a fearsome opponent.
LeBron is a record-breaker. He currently stands first in the NBA all-time scoring list. He boasts four NBA championships and four MVP awards, proving his status as one of the best.
Off the court, James is a social justice and equality advocate. With his platform, he brings awareness to issues like police brutality and racial inequality. His philanthropic efforts include founding the ‘I Promise’ school in Akron, Ohio, which seeks to provide quality education to underprivileged children.
ESPN reports that LeBron James is one of the highest-paid athletes globally with an estimated income of $96.5 million in 2020, including endorsements. Kobe Bryant scored points for a retirement speech, farewell tour, and Hall of Fame induction speech all in one go.
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Jabbar is one of the top 10 NBA all-time scoring leaders. He played an impressive 20 seasons and scored an unbelievable 38,387 points. He was famous for his skyhook shot and his influence on the game. In addition, he was a six-time MVP and nineteen-time All-Star.
What makes him special? His longevity in the sport. He managed to keep playing despite being past his prime and is one of only seven players with over 30,000 career points. His hard work and commitment are proven by his many awards.
Not only was he a great scorer, but also a strong defender and rebounder. He won four championships with two different teams during his career, solidifying his status as a great player.
Recently, he showed us his true character by donating 900 pairs of safety goggles to Southern California hospitals. He proves that even after retiring, he still gives back to the community in meaningful ways.
3. Karl Malone
Karl Malone, nicknamed “The Mailman“, is one of the top scorers in NBA history. He scored an incredible 36,928 points and became part of the exclusive 30,000 Point Club. He played 19 seasons and averaged 25 points per game.
Malone was known for his pick-and-roll game with John Stockton as well as his physicality and drive. He had a consistent mid-range jump shot, plus an ability to draw fouls. He led the league in free throw attempts nine times, averaging over nine attempts per game.
If you want to improve your scoring ability, follow Karl Malone’s example. Work on a versatile mid-range game. Be aggressive and don’t be afraid to draw fouls by attacking the basket. Then you too can purchase multiple mansions and a private jet!
4. Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant was a basketball legend who left an unforgettable mark on the game. He was a 5-time NBA Champion and scored 33,000+ points during his career. His hard work and commitment to basketball made him a renowned scorer in basketball history.
He was a guard for the Lakers. He was known for his brave attitude and mastery of footwork and scoring. He still appears in the top 5 all-time NBA scorers.
Kobe Bryant inspired young athletes globally through his coaching and charity work. He encouraged people to strive for greatness on and off the court through promoting education and creativity.
To honor him, watch clips of his games or read books about him. If you are an aspiring basketball player, try some of his moves to improve your skills. Emulating his success may help you unlock your own potential.
5. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan, widely regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time, holds the esteemed position of the 5th all-time leading scorer in NBA history. With a career total of 32,292 points, Jordan’s electrifying presence on the court and unparalleled scoring ability has left an indelible mark on the game.
His dazzling array of offensive moves, combined with his relentless drive and competitive spirit, have earned him a place among the pantheon of basketball legends.
Jordan’s 5th place standing on the all-time scoring list is just one aspect of his storied career, which saw him achieve numerous milestones and accolades. As a six-time NBA champion and five-time NBA MVP, his leadership and clutch performances played an instrumental role in the success of the Chicago Bulls during the 1990s.
Jordan’s impact on the game transcended the court, as he became a global icon and an inspiration to athletes and fans around the world.
Michael Jordan’s impressive list of achievements includes ten scoring titles, a record that remains unbroken to this day. Furthermore, he earned 14 NBA All-Star selections, three NBA All-Star Game MVP awards, and ten All-NBA First Team honors, showcasing his dominance and consistency throughout his career. Jordan’s remarkable accomplishments serve as a testament to his incredible talent, work ethic, and dedication to the sport.
6. Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Nowitzki, a German basketball sensation with a career spanning two decades, left an imprint on NBA history with his signature one-legged fadeaway shot.
He became the highest-scoring foreign-born player in NBA history and led the Dallas Mavericks to their first championship ever! Dirk’s remarkable scoring prowess saw him enter the top 10 all-time scoring leaders in the NBA, taking 6th place with 31,560 points.
His unrivaled consistency and longevity made him one of the greatest scorers of all time.
Not just a scoring machine, Dirk revolutionized the game too. His 7-footer frame combined with the ability to shoot from beyond the arc inspired many young players to pursue basketball. He became a role model on & off the court.
At the start of his career, Dirk had difficulty adapting to the physicality of American basketball. But he never gave up and eventually became one of the most decorated & influential NBA players.
Forbes magazine listed Dirk as #41 in their 2015 ‘World’s Highest-Paid Athletes’ list with earnings of $25 million. Wilt Chamberlain’s scoring record is so impressive, you’d think he’d need an ice pack for his arm after each game!
7. Wilt Chamberlain
Standing tall as a titan of basketball history, Wilt Chamberlain commands attention at the 7th position on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. His towering 7’1″ frame, combined with incredible athleticism, made him an unstoppable force on the court, racking up an astonishing 31,419 points throughout his illustrious career. Wilt’s exploits serve as a testament to his unrivaled talent, forever etching his name in the annals of the sport.
His 7th rank on the all-time scoring list is an indelible mark of his dominance and endurance in the world of professional basketball. As he soared to unprecedented heights, his skillful blend of strength, speed, and finesse left defenders in the dust, resulting in an unforgettable legacy that continues to captivate fans and players alike.
The name Wilt Chamberlain is synonymous with basketball greatness. With a career total of 31,419 points, his offensive prowess was nothing short of legendary. The sheer magnitude of his accomplishments leaves a lasting impact on the game, inspiring future generations to pursue their own dreams of success.
8. Shaquille O’Neal
Shaquille O’Neal, known as one of the most dominant and charismatic players in NBA history, proudly holds the position of the eighth all-time leading scorer. With a staggering 28,596 points scored throughout his illustrious career, Shaq’s powerful presence on the court was truly a force to be reckoned with. His unique blend of size, strength, and agility allowed him to effortlessly dominate the paint, leaving opponents in awe of his remarkable abilities.
As a four-time NBA champion, he played a pivotal role in the success of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat, proving himself to be an invaluable asset to any team he graced. His exceptional skill set and unwavering determination propelled him to the top, earning him a place among the greatest players to ever step onto the hardwood.
In addition to his scoring prowess, Shaq’s impressive achievements include three NBA Finals MVP awards, a regular-season MVP award, and 15 All-Star Game appearances. His larger-than-life personality and charisma only added to his appeal, making him a fan favorite and a global superstar. His impact on the game went far beyond the numbers, as he captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of fans around the world.
Shaq’s dominance on the court is further highlighted by his impressive records and career statistics. He ranks in the top 10 for field goals made, blocked shots, and offensive rebounds, showcasing the depth and versatility of his game.
O’Neal’s seemingly unstoppable force in the paint and unmatched physicality made him a nightmare for opposing teams, solidifying his legacy as one of the most influential centers in NBA history.
9. Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony, a prolific scorer and versatile forward, has earned a well-deserved spot as the 9th all-time leading scorer in NBA history. With a career total of over 28,289 points, Anthony’s offensive prowess has made him a formidable presence on the court for nearly two decades. His ability to score from virtually anywhere on the floor, coupled with his unwavering determination, has solidified his place among the league’s all-time greats.
His rise to the 9th position on the all-time scoring list is a testament to his hard work and dedication to the game of basketball. From his early years as a standout player at Syracuse University to his successful NBA career with the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, and Portland Trail Blazers, Anthony has been a consistent scoring machine. His remarkable achievements, which include an NCAA Championship and ten NBA All-Star appearances, serve as an inspiration to aspiring athletes everywhere.
In addition to his scoring exploits, Carmelo Anthony has garnered numerous accolades and honors throughout his career. As a member of Team USA, he helped secure three Olympic gold medals, establishing himself as a key contributor to the national team’s success. Furthermore, he earned an All-Rookie First Team selection in 2003 and has been named to the All-NBA Team six times, showcasing his undeniable talent and impact on the sport.
10. Moses Malone
Moses Malone, a true trailblazer in the realm of professional basketball, holds the esteemed position of 10th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Amassing an impressive 27,409 points throughout his career, Malone’s relentless work ethic and unwavering determination made him a dominant force on the court, earning him a place in the pantheon of basketball legends.
The 10th spot on the all-time scoring list is a fitting tribute to Moses Malone’s exceptional skill and tenacity. As a master of the offensive boards, Malone’s ability to create second-chance opportunities helped him rack up points and secure victories for his teams, making him an indispensable asset on and off the court.
Overcoming the odds as a high school player who jumped directly to the pros, Malone’s relentless pursuit of greatness established him as a formidable presence in the league and inspired future generations to follow in his footsteps.
Throughout his storied career, his scoring achievements were accompanied by a multitude of accolades and awards, including three NBA MVP titles and a coveted championship ring.
Other notable NBA all-time scoring leaders
These players have put up remarkable performances and have secured their position in the all-time scoring list. Apart from their impressive records, each player has a unique style of play and has contributed to the NBA in their own way. Notably, many of the aforementioned players have also been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Here are 10 more notable scorers that had exemplary contributions to the game and its legacy.
Tim Duncan, one of the NBA’s greatest power forwards, had an incredible 19-year career. He earned multiple All-Star Games, MVP awards, and five NBA Championships. He was also an all-time leader in scoring, rebounds, and blocks. His legacy with the San Antonio Spurs will never be forgotten.
Kevin Garnett, otherwise known as ‘The Big Ticket’, racked up a lot of points during his time in the NBA.
Garnett earned numerous All-Star selections and Defensive Player of the Year awards. Born in South Carolina, he was chosen 5th overall in the 1995 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
He led them to their first-ever playoff berth in 1997. Later, he won an NBA Championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008.
Garnett was known for his intense on-court attitude, often shouting and trash-talking opponents. Despite this, his work ethic and commitment to improving were highly respected.
Part of a strong draft class that featured stars like Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson, Garnett helped redefine basketball in the late 90s and early 2000s. He continues to inspire young players today with his legacy as one of the greatest big men in NBA history.
Jerry West may have been the logo of the NBA, but when it came to scoring, he was more like a footnote. This former power forward, however, was one of the league’s all-time scoring leaders. He was renowned for his versatility and defensive play.
Larry Bird was an NBA star known for his grit and determination. His precision shooting skills and defensive play made him a top scorer in league history. He racked up over 25,000 points throughout his career, leading multiple championship-winning teams.
Bird continues to be involved in the sport as an executive and team consultant. He emphasizes hard work and dedication for improving skills. Also, he stresses the importance of teamwork and communication when it comes to success.
Aspiring basketball players can learn from Bird’s strategies and tactics. It is through persistence and practice that one can reach their full potential. His 21,791 points may not have been enough to win a game of darts.
The highly-regarded NBA player, Larry Bird, was famous for his shooting skills and versatile playing style. He won 3 MVP awards, 2 Finals MVP awards and helped lead the Boston Celtics to 3 championships in 1981, 1984, and 1986.
During his rookie year, Bird earned the Rookie of the Year title and averaged 21.3 points per game. His game kept on improving as time passed, allowing him to be a great scorer and an excellent passer. People praised him for his unselfishness on court and his ability to read the game.
In 1986, he recorded an unusual triple-double against the Portland Trailblazers. He had 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals during the game.
Surprisingly, some scouts thought Larry was past his prime and didn’t want to draft him into the NBA. He was only 22 years old but had experienced multiple injuries while playing for Indiana State University. But the Boston Celtics took a chance on him. He proved all skeptics wrong and played for over 13 seasons with them.
Hakeem Olajuwon, a celebrated Houston Rockets center, is renowned for his two-way game and trademark “Dream Shake” move. He’s the only player in NBA history to have retired with 3,000+ blocks and 2,000+ steals – a testament to his defensive prowess. This exceptional player also won back-to-back NBA championships in 1994-95, earning Finals MVP in both!
Throughout his 18-season career, Olajuwon was a league leader in scoring. He earned two MVP awards (1993-94 season) and eleven All-NBA selections – cementing himself as a living legend.
Growing up in Nigeria, Hakeem honed his basketball skills while playing soccer. At 15, he swapped it out for basketball under Coach Lanre Glover at a Lagos youth center.
Olajuwon’s career spanned two decades (1984–2002). During this time, he led the Rockets to become one of the most formidable teams in league history.
Nicknamed “The Human Highlight Film,” Wilkins displayed remarkable scoring talent in his prime. He was part of teams such as the Atlanta Hawks, the Boston Celtics and the San Antonio Spurs. His long career included 13 All-Star selections and two All-NBA First-Team honors.
His popular windmill dunk was a signature move. He typically scored over 20 points a game, and hit a career-high of 30.3 points per game in the 1985-86 season.
Allen Iverson, nicknamed “The Answer,” took the NBA by storm when he was drafted as the first overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1996. His lightning-fast crossover and relentless scoring ability made him an instant sensation. Iverson’s iconic crossover on Michael Jordan, one of the greatest players of all time, during his rookie season served as a harbinger of the superstar career that lay ahead.
Throughout his 14-year career, Iverson was a force to be reckoned with on the court, earning the NBA MVP award in the 2000-2001 season. The same year, he led the 76ers to the NBA Finals, demonstrating his prowess as a leader and team player. Although they ultimately fell to the Los Angeles Lakers, Iverson’s 48-point performance in Game 1 remains an unforgettable moment in NBA history.
Off the court, Iverson’s influence extended far beyond basketball. As a cultural icon, he popularized the hip-hop style and attitude within the NBA. His signature cornrows, tattoos, and arm sleeve became synonymous with his persona, and he played a pivotal role in shaping the league’s contemporary image. Iverson’s impact on popular culture remains evident today, inspiring a new generation of players and fans.
Despite facing numerous obstacles, including injuries and controversies, throughout his career, Iverson’s perseverance and determination were unmatched. His fearlessness and passion for the game endeared him to millions of fans worldwide. Retiring in 2010, Iverson’s legacy as an 11-time NBA All-Star, 4-time scoring champion, and Hall of Fame inductee solidified his place as one of the most electrifying and influential players in basketball history.
Paul Pierce was a legendary NBA scorer. He made 10 All-Star teams and was the 2008 Finals MVP. He retired with 26,397 points. This made him the 15th all-time scoring leader. Most of his career was spent with the Boston Celtics. He helped them win an NBA championship in 2008.
Pierce was known for his clutch shots and shooting skills. He worked hard and dedicated himself to the sport. His success resulted in his jersey being retired by both the Celtics and LA Clippers.
In retirement, Pierce hosted a radio show and acted in films. For basketball fans and admirers of Pierce’s legacy, it would be good to look back at some of his greatest moments.
At 6-foot-5 and with exceptional skills, Robertson was more than a great scorer. His 12 All-Star selections and triple-doubles show his proficiency on both ends of the court. His leadership qualities and performances earned him a spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Robertson was one of the greatest basketball players ever. He finished his career with 26,710 points and 9,000+ assists, placing him in the top ten all-time scoring leaders.
Despite his great records, he suffered numerous injuries throughout his playing days. He only began receiving proper treatment for them later in life, which led to a renewal of his physical health. Basketball enthusiasts and players alike still admire him for his inspiring athletic abilities and dedication to the game.
Charles Barkley is known for being a legendary basketball player who could score like no other. He amassed 23,757 points, ranking him #24 among NBA all-time scorers. His skills were not limited to scoring. Rebounding and passing were also among his strengths. He played for the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, and Houston Rockets, aiding in their success.
Off the court, Barkley has redefined what it means to be an analyst. He provides fans with deep insights about the current players’ situations and mindsets.
On March 24th, 1991 against San Antonio Spurs, Charles Barkley had one of his most unforgettable games. He put up an incredible 56 points, shooting 23-of-31 from the field. It was undoubtedly one of the best performances of his career!
Charles Barkley may not have topped the scoring leaders list, but his Hall of Fame induction and millions of dollars must still make him smile.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Who is the all-time leading scorer in NBA history?
The all-time leading scorer in NBA history is Lebron James, who scored 38,652 points in his career.
2. Who is second on the list of all-time NBA scorers?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is second on the list of all-time NBA scorers, with 38,387 points.
3. How many players in NBA history have scored 30,000 points or more?
There are currently only seven players in NBA history who have scored 30,000 points or more: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, and Dirk Nowitzki.
4. Who is the youngest player to reach 20,000 points in NBA history?
The youngest player to reach 20,000 points in NBA history is LeBron James, who accomplished the feat at the age of 28 years and 17 days.
5. How many seasons did Kareem Abdul-Jabbar play in the NBA?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played 20 seasons in the NBA, from 1969 to 1989.
6. Who has the highest scoring average in NBA history?
Wilt Chamberlain has the highest scoring average in NBA history, with an average of 30.1 points per game over the course of his career.