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NBA All-time Scoring Leaders: Top 10 regular seasonĀ scorers in NBA history

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Achyut Dubey

There are tons of ways to score in basketball. Layups, deep 3-pointers, 2-point mid-range jumpers, And-1, free throws, mid-range floaters, dunks .. you name it.

But some men took basketball offence to new zeniths, piling up mountains worth of points before hanging their kicks and leaving the game better than what they found it as. Generations of basketball prodigies graced the 94 x 50 feet piece of wood and left us with plays we never thought could be made possible with just a basketball and a rim.

We've heard "offense is the best kind of defense" on numerous occasions, but the following men redefined it on a regular basis and made it a part of their basketball being. While dribbling the ball down the court, with the clock running down, shooters in place waiting for the catch-and-shoot, crowd on its feet, opponents on their toes with their arms out wide, a heartbeat in sync with the ball hitting the hardwood and a brain racing through all possible options to get the ball inside the bucket in 24 seconds, they would absorb it all in and let go, with just their basketball instincts by their side.

Here, we will look at the NBA All-time scoring list, at the players who graced the basketball court and left us with highlights to cherish for a lifetime.


#10 Elvin Hayes

Hayes is the all-time leading scorer for the Washington Bullets/Wizards.
Hayes is the all-time leading scorer for the Washington Bullets/Wizards.

Elvin Ernest Hayes joined the NBA with the San Diego Rockets in 1968 and went on to lead the NBA in scoring with 28.4 points per game and was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team. Hayes and Unseld later led the Washington Bullets to three NBA Finals (1975, 1978 and 1979), and an NBA title with the Seattle SuperSonics in 1978.

An inductee in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and member of the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, Elvin Hayes has played in 1,303 NBA games spending 50,000 minutes on-court and stacking up 27,313 points in the process.

#9 Moses Malone

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Malone won his only NBA championship in 1983, playing for the Sixers.

In a career spanning close to two decades, Moses Eugene Malone played for seven NBA franchises, Philadelphia 76ers being his most successful home. 3-time NBA MVP & 12-time NBA All-Star, Moses won his only NBA Championship ring in 1983 with the 76ers, also clinching league MVP and Finals MVP on the way.

Standing at 6 feet 10 inches tall, Malone was an offensive rebounding machine, and would often put back his own misses. He ranks fifth all-time in terms of rebounding in the regular season with 16,212 rebounds. He played 1,329 games in total and ended his career with 27,409 points to his name, shooting around 50% from the field throughout his time.

#8 Shaquille O' Neal

Shaq's memorable stint (1996 to 2004) at the Lakers fetched him 3 Championship rings.
Shaq's memorable stint (1996 to 2004) at the Lakers fetched him 3 Championship rings.

One of the most decorated big men in the NBA, Shaq was known for being vivacious on the court on both ends of the floor, along with a dominant display of brute strength in the paint. He spent eight unforgettable seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers leading the purple and gold to three straight NBA titles from 2000 to 2002.

During the first title run, Oā€™Neal won the regular-season MVP award, falling one vote short of being the first player ever to win the award unanimously. He impacted the game in a way so as to pave way for the modern day Big centres, in becoming pivotal figures on the basketball court.

Playing a total of 1,207 games before retiring in 2011, Shaquille O' Neal had accumulated 28,596 points.

4-Time NBA Champion, 3-time NBA Finals MVP and 15-time All-Star, Shaq had achieved pretty much everything there was to be achieved during his time in the league.

#7 Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki's Signature Fadeaway Jumpshot
Dirk Nowitzki's Signature Fadeaway Jumpshot

Dirk has been the face of the Dallas Mavericks franchise since he joined in the 1998-99 season, turning out to be an example of undying loyalty, having finished his 20th season in Dallas this year. He has amassed 31,187 points for himself till date, having played in 1,471 games, and is only the 6th player to achieve over 30,000 regular-season points.

Having led his team to an NBA Championship in the year 2011, he was also awarded the NBA Finals MVP for the same Finals series against the Miami Heat. His trophy shelf also includes the coveted regular season MVP award, which he won in 2007 after averaging 24.6 ppg, 8.4 rebs per game and 3.4 assists per game.

Born in WĆ¼rzburg, Germany, Dirk Werner Nowitzki is the only player to record at least 31,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists, 1,000 steals, 1,000 blocks and 1,000 3-point field goals. He is the highest-scoring foreign-born player in NBA history, and will always be known for letting the world know that players based outside of the US can also fond their place in the NBA and excel at their craft just like any other American in the NBA.

#6 Wilt Chamberlain

Chamberlain is remembered for his 100-point game in 1962
Chamberlain is remembered for his 100-point game in 1962

Wilt Chamberlain is regarded as one of the most dominant players in the history of the sport. His iconic 100-point game was not televised or recorded as the NBA was not yet a major sports league. That very season, Chamberlain averaged a record 50.4 points per game. The closest anybody has ever come to this mammoth scoreline is Kobe Bryant when he dropped 81 against the Toronto Raptors in 2006.

In just 1,045 games, Wilt piled up a mountain made of 31,419 points and had an impact on the game way beyond the stat sheets. As a 4-time MVP and 2-time Champion, he set in motion several rule changes such as widening the lane, instituting offensive goaltending etc.

Standing at a little above 7 feet, Wilt displayed superhuman agility on the court, serving San Francisco Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Los Angeles Lakers before playing his last season in 1973.

#5 LeBron James

Now in his 15th season, LeBron continues to redefine fitness and resilience.
Now in his 15th season, LeBron continues to redefine fitness and resilience.

In the Top 10 All-Time scoring leaders list, LeBron James is the only active player apart from Dirt Nowitzki still going strong with 31,425 points to his name, having been played in 1,157 games. James topped Wilt en route to leading the Lakers to a win over the Trail Blazers, scoring 44 points on the night yesterday.

Now, in the 16th season of his illustrious NBA career, The King has been proving everybody wrong with his inhuman level of physical fitness and durability at the age of 33. James has reached the NBA Finals again this season, this one being his 8th consecutive trip to the biggest stage of them all.

Now, hold your breath. Being a 3-time NBA Champion, 3-time NBA Finals MVP, 4-time regular season MVP winner, an astounding 14-time All-Star (in a row), a 12-time All NBA First Team pick, 5-time NBA All-Defensive first team pick and NBA Rookie of the Year, there's pretty little that escapes James' resume.

#4 Michael Jordan

Even after all these years, MJ's name is still synonymous with Basketball all around the world
Even after all these years, MJ's name is still synonymous with Basketball all around the world

Michael Jeffrey Jordan stretched the boundaries of the sport to its limits, achieving inhuman feats and creating unthinkable records on a nightly basis. When he started his career at the Chicago Bulls in the 1984-85 season as a rookie, Nobody in their wildest dreams would have thought that the kid would go on to win 6 NBA Championships, become a 5-time NBA regular season MVP and be named an All-Star 14 times in his career.

Jordan has his #23 jersey retired by the Chicago Bulls, owing to the fact that he hoarded 32,292 points and averaged 30.1 points per game (highest in the history of the NBA) before retiring in 2003 at the age of 40.

The list of awards and honours this man has accumulated during the length of his career is endless. Many regard him as the 'Best Player to ever play the game of basketball'.

#3 Kobe Bryant

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Kobe won three rings wearing 8 and two more rings with 24 as his jersey number.

Nobody in the Lakers' future will get their hands on jerseys 8 and 24. They're up on the rafters for the world to see and for the fans to remember, that what they had in Kobe Bryant was a 'Once in a Lifetime' player.

From the start to the finish of his saga, Kobe had a Lakers jersey on, as he dropped 33,643 points averaging 25.0 ppg throughout his career.

An 18-time All-star and 5-time NBA Champion, he had done all a basketball player could possibly achieve in a career and more. His legacy is one to be cherished & celebrated throughout the world.

#2 Karl Malone

"The Mailman" spent his first 18 seasons with Utah Jazz

Karl Malone's stockpile of 36,928 points during his 19-year long career, stands second in the league to that of only Kareem Abdul Jabbar's. One of the best power forwards in the history of the game, Karl was named the NBA Most Valuable Player twice (1997, 1999) whilst wearing the #32 Utah Jazz jersey.

A 14-time NBA All-Star, Karl also holds the record for most free throws attempted and made in addition to co-holding the record for the second most first-team All-NBA selections in history.

Karl "The Mailman" Malone is a proven basketball icon, with respect to the fact that he has been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010 twice (Firstly, for his individual career, and secondly, as a member of the 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team).

#1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

In 1996, he was honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.
In 1996, he was honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.

Hall of Famer and center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leads NBA All-time Points list. He won six NBA titles, five with the Los Angeles Lakers, over 20 years. His signature sideways jump-hook is still remembered as one of the most unguardable shots in the long history of the game.

A dominant high school basketball player, Abdul-Jabbar was recruited to play at UCLA and led the Bruins to three national titles. His dominance continued in the NBA, first for the Milwaukee Bucks, and later the Los Angeles Lakers. Abdul-Jabbar won six titles and six MVP awards and finished as the league's all-time scorer with 38,387 points to his name.

In the 20 seasons he played for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers, Kareem had 1,520 appearances which still remains unmatched to this date.

He retired in 1989 and is widely considered one of the greatest players in NBA history.


How much further do you think can LeBron James climb in this list? Tell us in the comments below!

Edited by Raunak J
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