LeBron James continues to make history. On Saturday, James passed Utah Jazz legend Karl Malone on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
James has the opportunity to become the all-time leading scorer, and only the Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar stands in front of him. But he still has a ways to go. Here are the updated rankings of the NBA’s top five all-time scoring leaders.
1.) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the greatest players to play the game. He came into the league as Lew Alcindor, who dominated the NCAA during his time with UCLA. He was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1969, where he played six seasons and won his first championship. He was later traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he remained for the rest of his career.
In his career, Abdul-Jabbar scored 38,387 points. He had an illustrious career with six champions, six MVPs and a high accolade such as this one. He set a bar, and many wondered if anyone could reach it. However, James may be doing so soon.
2.) LeBron James
LeBron James is the only active player on this list. He was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003, and since then, he has been incredible. James currently plays for the Lakers, and while they’ve struggled throughout the season, James remains impressive. He averages 30.0 points this season and is in a close race for 2021-22 scoring champion with Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo and Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid.
James needed 19 points to reach Malone, and he did so during the second quarter of Saturday’s game against the Wizards. Now, he stands at 36,985 points. The 37-year-old is playing at a high level, and while the Lakers playoff odds are in question, you cannot deny what James is doing. And when it’s all said and done, James could cement his legacy as the all-time scoring leader.
3.) Karl Malone
Karl Malone was an exceptional player who, despite never winning a championship, added some impressive accolades to his resume. Malone was a two-time MVP, a 14-time all-star, and before James surpassed him, he was the closest to Abdul-Jabbar’s scoring record.
Malone finished his career with 36,928 points. It is also impressive that he played 10 seasons where he didn’t miss a game. He played all 82 games in those seasons, and the seasons he didn’t, he typically missed one or two games. There are only two seasons where he played less than 50 games, and one of those seasons was towards the end of his career.
Malone played smart and managed to stay healthy throughout his career. So, it is no surprise he is so high on the list.
4.) Kobe Bryant
The late Kobe Bryant was one of the league’s most exciting players. And he loved to score.
Bryant came into the league as the 13th pick of the 1996 draft. The Lakers acquired him in a draft trade with the Charlotte Hornets, and as they say, the rest is history.
Bryant had an amazing career that included multiple champions (five to be exact), an MVP and much more. He also had the memorable 81 point game against the Raptors in 2006. Bryant even finished his career in style when he scored 60 points against the Utah Jazz in 2016. This game put him at 33,643 points.
The Lakers great played well throughout his career and even surpassed one of his idols.
5.) Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is one of the most famous players of all time. He is also considered one of the best.
Jordan was a true superstar that changed the game, was skilled and had the accolades to back it up.
Jordan was a six-time champion, six-time Finals MVP, five-time MVP and before Bryant and James surpassed him, he was the NBA’s third-leading scorer. Jordan finished his career with 32,292 points, and in that time, he did spectacular things.
The NBA scoring list is a high honor, and if James can reach the top, it will be historic.