Top 3 Greatest Scorers in NBA History – The NBA has seen so many unique scorers in its history, and many of them are among the greatest to grace the hardwood.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leads the NBA all-time in points scored with a total of 38,487. The closest active player is The King himself, Lebron James with 35, 367. If he can stay healthy, he likely surpasses Kareem as the all-time leading scorer in history.
However, having the most points does not always mean that you are the best scorer. Many of the players who are in the top 10 for scoring are benefitted from the longevity of their careers, and their consistency over that time.
Kareem played 20 seasons, Karl Malone in second played for 19 seasons, and Lebron James just finished up his 18th year in his career.
That brings up the debate of quantity vs. quality.
Despite there being so many candidates that could grace this top 3 list, I was able to dwindle it down to a trio that I was comfortable with calling the 3 greatest scorers of all time.
#3: LeBron James
The King has to make this list. He has averaged 25+ PPG in 17 straight seasons, the most all-time. Nobody else has more than 11. LeBron’s physicality and willingness to take the ball to the rim have defined his scoring career. That powerful style has propelled James 17 straight seasons of 25-plus points per game.
Lebron also makes this list because of his ability to score from each spot on the court. After developing a serviceable three-point shot, defending LeBron has been even more of a challenge, along with his stellar playmaking.
As mentioned earlier, if he stays healthy, LeBron has a terrific chance to retire as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. If he were to score at his average pace, he would pass Kareem within the next two years.
However, one thing that LeBron is lacking is the hardware to back up his scoring prowess. He only has one scoring title to his name since entering the league in the 2003 NBA Draft.
#2: Kevin Durant
Durantula. Easy money sniper. Slim Reaper. Whatever nickname you choose to use, one thing will remain the same. Durant will score the ball.
At his size and frame, he is virtually unstoppable with the ball in his hands. He is a 7 footer who can shoot, dribble, back you down, fade away, dunk, etc. He can do it all.
He is easily the most satisfying player to watch on the offensive end with the ball in his hands. He is so fluid and pure in his technique that it makes it so beautiful to watch.
He reached 36th all-time in scoring before he turned 31, he boasts the 12th best true shooting percentage and has four scoring titles to his name within five years (2010-2014)
Since then he has even improved his efficiency, being one of the few players who are a part of the 50/40/90 club where you shoot 50% from the field, 40% from the arc, and 90% from the free-throw line.
Durant’s four scoring titles are 3rd all-time behind Wilt Chamberlain and the man who is number 1 on this list.
Durant still has time to catch the top of the NBA all-time in points, and currently sits at 31st in history with 23, 883.
#1: Michael Jordan
No one other than the G.O.A.T can be considered the greatest scorer of all time.
While statistics may put him at 5th all-time in points scored, there is no denying his consistent scoring ability, and ability to score from anywhere on the court.
He led the league in scoring 10 times and did it 7 consecutive times from 1987-1993. That is tied for the NBA record with Wilt Chamberlain. And had Jordan not retired to play baseball, he would’ve most likely led the league 12 years in a row, as he won three consecutively after his retirement in 1996-1998.
The only reason he is not the top scorer of all-time in terms of points is simply because of longevity. Jordan only played 15 seasons, and had he played as many as the legends in front of him, he would have easily been atop the list.
He holds the NBA record for highest points per game average in the regular season and playoffs and scored 37.1 PPG in his career-best year. Jordan and Chamberlain are the only two players to average more than 30 points per game in their total careers.
When Jordan played, he was simply the best scorer out on the court day in and day out. To make that even more impressive, he played in an era that included Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and so many legendary scorers.
Jordan is the greatest scorer there ever was.