Top five players with most points scored in NBA history

Top five players with most points scored in NBA history

LeBron James is the only active player on this list.

On February 2023, LeBron James made history by becoming the all-time leading scorer in NBA history, surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s long-standing record for the most points scored. For over 39 years, a seemingly unbreakable record stood, but LeBron shattered it.

Let’s take a look at the top five players with the most points scored in NBA history.

Player with most points scored in NBA history

5. Michael Jordan (32,292)

A five-time regular season NBA MVP and six-time NBA champion, Jordan scored 32,292 points in 1,072 games and 41,011 minutes, now ranking fifth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Across his career, Jordan averaged 30.1 points per game over 15 seasons, showcasing legendary talent for a point guard. His career average points per game in the NBA is now tied for first place with NBA all-time leading scorer Wilt Chamberlain.

4. Kobe Bryant (33,643)

The legendary Kobe Bryant, a leader in both regular and postseason scoring, holds the fourth-place record. On December 14, 2014, Bryant needed nine points to surpass Jordan’s career total of 32,292 points before a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He achieved this feat with 5:24 remaining in the first half by scoring two free throws that tied and won the game.

3. Karl Malone (36,928)

Karl Malone is on the third spot on the all-time NBA scoring list. He amassed 36,928 points (25.0 per game), ranking third-best all-time, shooting 516 across 1,476 NBA games (sixth all-time) and 1,471 starts (most all-time, never coming off the bench after his first season). Malone overtook Wilt Chamberlain for the second-most points scored in NBA history during the 2002–2003 season with 36,374 points.

2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387)

On April 5, 1984, playing against Utah, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar broke Wilt Chamberlain’s record for the most NBA points in his career. This historic moment occurred when he received a pass from Johnson and scored from 15 feet with his signature skyhook, surpassing the shot-blocking specialist Mark Eaton.

Nine months before James was born, Abdul-Jabbar set this record, which remained untouched for nearly 40 years, the longest-standing record in NBA history until the 38-year-old Lakers’ star broke it in 2023. He became the first player to reach a career scoring total of over 35,000 points.

1. LeBron James (39,078)*

Before facing the Oklahoma City Thunder, LeBron James needed 36 points to break Abdul-Jabbar’s record of 38,387 points. He achieved this milestone late in the third quarter with a two-point jumper, having already scored twenty points in the first half.

James never envisioned becoming the all-time top scorer even after spending 20 years in the league. Finishing with 38 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals, James led the Lakers to a new high of 38,390 points, but they lost 133-130.

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