LeBron James has surpassed Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant top top the NBA"s all-time scoring chart, relocating up come No. 3 and also padding an already storied legacy.
You are watching: Best scorers of all time nba
Between the two, though, i beg your pardon player is the better scorer?
That inquiry isn"t as straightforward as looking at suggest totals. Instead, it demands a nuanced approach that involves complete production but additionally factors in efficiency, longevity and the individual"s style. Part subjectivity is unavoidable because numbers room important, yet don"t call a finish story in this details case.
We"ve looked earlier through NBA history and chose on the 10 best scorers, as well as highlighting several other deserving players.
Note: ABA production is considered.
1 the 11
Karl Malone and also Shaquille O'NealMark J. Terrill/Associated Press
The permanent Scorers
Karl Malone (second all-time), Dirk Nowitzki (sixth) and also Shaquille O"Neal (10th) hold a prodigious clues in NBA history. If undeniably hall of Famers, longevity is the greatest variable in your positions ~ above the scoring perform considering all 3 played at least 19 periods in the NBA. To be merely one that the 20-25 biggest scorers is no slight.
The High Peaks
Elgin Baylor, George Gervin, Larry Bird, Pete Maravich and also Dominique Wilkins are amongst the football player who took pleasure in a few ridiculously abundant years, helping them soil a point out on the all-time scorers" list. Castle all average 30-plus point out in at the very least one season, conserve for Bird, that barely to let go the mark with 29.9 in 1987-88.
10. Stephen Curry
2 of 11
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press
Stephen Curry doesn"t yet have actually the longevity of countless players, however over the previous decade, he has changed how the video game is played. Not only is the golden State Warriors allude guard a lethal perimeter shooter, but he"s additionally deadly turn off the dribble.
That"s a substantial difference compared to other marksmen. Nobody has ever matched Curry"s mix of volume and also efficiency.
Curry currently has the third-most threes in NBA history, and he"s connecting at the fourth-highest price ever. The three-time champion has averaged at least two do threes in 10 seasons (and is on speed for one 11th continuous year). No other player has recorded more than seven in a career.
9. Jerry West
3 that 11
During an era when jump shots weren"t the norm, Jerry West broke the mold.
The Lakers legend describe a mid-range acuity unusual to his peers. He averaged 27.0 points end his 14-year career, topping the end at 31.3 in 1965-66 with four seasons that 30-plus points every game. West additionally thrived in the playoffs, posting a 40.6-point median in 1964-65 and notching 30-plus clues in six various other postseasons.
"I"m surprised when the ball doesn"t go into the hoop," West once said, per NBA.com. "I think I must make every shot."
West"s 27.03 point out per game stands as the fifth-highest all-time mark.
8. James Harden
4 that 11
Michael Wyke/Associated Press
You don"t need to love his style. And also you definitely don"t should like it.
Nevertheless, Houston Rockets guard James Harden has come to be one the the NBA"s most effective scorers. Besides, Harden"s shot-making ability is undeniable. He already owns top-15 marks in points per game and true shooting percentage.
"There has never to be a player prefer him," Ben Cohen of the Wall Street Journal wrote. "And he"s now doing points that have never to be done on a basketball court."
Harden occurred a lethal step-back game that has actually helped him tear down the seventh-most threes in organization history. In 2019-20, he"s on speed for a third straight scoring title.
7. Kevin Durant
5 that 11
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
Seven-footers aren"t an alleged to shoot prefer this.
Though his actual height is a an additional topic, Kevin Durant has an uncommon skill collection for his size. In NBA history, just 14 football player who space 6"9" or taller have actually notched at the very least 1,000 threes. Of that group, the only other player to median at least 21.0 clues per video game over your career is LeBron James.
And the stature just complicates the challenge he presents. Durant deserve to shoot over practically anyone, however he"s still posted the 12th-best true shooting percent in organization history.
It"s no wonder he"d risen to 36th all-time in scoring before his 31st birthday.
6. Allen Iverson
6 that 11
Matt Slocum/Associated Press
Of the peak 50 all-time scorers in NBA history, here"s the complete list the players that were 6"0" or shorter: Allen Iverson.
That relative absence of size didn"t prevent Iverson from coming to be a nightmare come defend. "The Answer" won four scoring titles and ranks 30th on the all-time points list, mirroring off a spectacular mix that explosiveness, dribbling and an capacity to strike the rim.
"When we gain him the round in the open up court, he"s scary," former Philadelphia 76ers coach Larry Brown once said of Iverson.
Among the 13 who averaged at least 25 points throughout your career, Iverson and also West space the just players shorter than 6"5".
5. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
7 the 11
Lennox McLendon/Associated Press
The all-time leading scorer in league history with 38,387 points, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar climbed the list while popularizing a terrible skyhook. Considering his 7"2" frame, it to be a almost unblockable shot.
"Defenders had to compete with a subtle left-arm clearout throw them off balance, i m sorry left them v no possibility to with the impossibly high relax point," B/R"s approve Hughes created of Abdul-Jabbar"s shot. "Even if they gained the time right, adversaries had come go through Abdul-Jabbar"s body to bother the attempt."
On peak of that, Abdul-Jabbar average 20-plus clues in 17 that his 20 seasons.
4. Wilt Chamberlain
8 of 11
Dick Raphael/Getty Images
In each of his first seven NBA seasons, wilt Chamberlain led the organization in scoring. There room worse means to start a career.
Basketball chronicler Leonard Koppett called the hall of Famer "clearly the most conquering player who ever before played basketball, probably not the best, yet the most dominant," per the New York Times.
Without question, Chamberlain"s lasting success is his 100-point display screen in 1962. Yet he also recorded 40-plus points 118 times, towering end Michael Jordan (31) in second place.
Chamberlain—who average an unconscionable 22.9 rebounds per video game over 14 seasons—ranks seventh all-time with 31,419 career points.
3. LeBron James
9 that 11
Charles Krupa/Associated Press
When factoring in his happen ability, LeBron James is likely the most overwhelming pressure to assault the basket in NBA history.
Built like a high linebacker through the athleticism the a suggest guard, LeBron has regularly been compared to a freight train. That an effective style has actually propelled James come 15—and perhaps 16—straight seasons of 25-plus points every game. Nobody rather has more than 11 consecutive year of that output.
LeBron"s range, quite unfairly, also extends beyond the arc. He ranks 17th in job three-pointers made.
If he continues to be healthy, LeBron has a great chance come retire as the NBA"s all-time leading scorer.
2. Kobe Bryant
10 of 11
David Zalubowski/Associated Press
Kobe Bryant constantly found a way to create a look.
"Drop him anywhere inside the arc, pit him versus any defender in the world," Kirk Goldsberry that Grantland wrote, "and he"ll still find a means to pump, swivel, duck, twist, or lunge his method into clean airspace and also release one above-average NBA run shot."
Although he never mastered the perimeter, Kobe had actually enough range to demand respect almost everywhere on the floor. The holds a top-20 clues on the all-time threes list.
Bryant retired as the No. 3 scorer in organization history, only newly falling to 4th behind LeBron.
1. Michael Jordan
11 of 11
BETH A. KEISER/Associated Press
Michael Jordan retired prior to the 1993-94 season, tried come play baseball and missed much of the 1994-95 campaign. ~ above his return in march 1995, Jordan—who hadn"t played an NBA game in 21 months—scored 55 point out in his 5th appearance.
Remarkable, unreal, improbable, ridiculous. You name it, the adjective probably specifies his accomplishments.
Jordan did practically anything he want on the court, attack the in salt or controlling the mid-range. His fadeaway and also turnaround jumper, particularly from the post, took on mythical status.
The six-time champion won 10 scoring titles and owns the NBA typical for point out per game at 30.12.
Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon top top Twitter
See more: Can You Drive A Mustang In The Snow, Ford Mustang In Snow & Winter Driving
Enjoy our content? sign up with our newsletter to get the recent in sporting activities news ceded straight to her inbox!
Twitter LogoCopy link Icon
Bleacher Report Logo