Who has the most 40-point games in NBA history?

James Harden of the Brooklyn Nets
James Harden of the Brooklyn Nets

The NBA has seen a range of prolific scorers who have the ability to win games for their teams single-handedly. These include some of the greatest players of all time, such as the likes of Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and as his consistent scoring heroics prove, LeBron James. However, the latter has never been the most prolific of scorers and has scored more than 40 points in a game just 66 times, out of a total of 1310 NBA matches.

In this article, we look at the NBA players who have the highest number of 40-points games in the league’s history.

NBA star with the most 40-point games in league’s history

It would not be surprising to hear that dominant center and NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain holds the record for most 40-point games, with a whopping 271 of them. The two-time NBA champion and Philadelphia 76ers’ legend is fifth on the all-time list of the most points scored in NBA history, with 31,419 points. Chamberlain played only 1,045 games to achieve the feat, which is the lowest among the 12 highest scorers in the NBA.

Overall, he produced 13,458 points in games in which he scored at least 40 points, and had an average of 49.7 in those 271 matches. Chamberlain was followed by Michael Jordan, who scored at least 40 points in 173 matches. Wilt Chamberlain is known for his all-round skills and is one of the best rebounders that the NBA has ever seen as well.

Michael Jordan during the late Kobe Bryant's induction to NBA's Hall of Fame.
Michael Jordan during the late Kobe Bryant's induction to NBA's Hall of Fame.

He famously averaged 50.4 points throughout the 1961-62 season, playing for the Philadelphia 76ers. As far as the list for the most 40-point games is concerned, Michael Jordan is followed by LA Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who scored at least 40 points a total of 122 times.

The only active player in the top-5 is current Brooklyn Nets ace James Harden, who has till date registered a total of 101 matches in which he scored at least 40 points. Harden achieved the feat in December 2019 in the Houston Rockets’ win over the Phoenix Suns, as he surpassed Elgin Baylor, who had exactly 88 games in which he scored at least 40 points.

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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