The Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar LeBron James recently broke Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record for most points scored in NBA history to emerge as the league’s all-time scorer. With this, James entered the rarified air that only five other players reached beside him and Abdul-Jabbar. In honor of James’ achievement, we are presenting you with a list of all players who were officially recognized as the NBA’s All-Time scoring leaders.
Record Holder: 1946-52
A star with the Philadelphia Warriors, Joe Fulks played basketball at the time when dunking was illegal, and the three-point shot wasn’t introduced yet. Still, he averaged 16.4 points for his career and retired in 1946 as the all-time leading scorer with 8,003 points.
Record Holder: 1952-58
George Mikan was a Minneapolis Lakers legend who led the franchise to five titles in seven years. Nicknamed Mr. Basketball, he broke Fulks record in his fourth year in the league and went on to finish his career four years later in 1956 with 10,156 career points.
Record Holder: 1958-64
Dolph Schayes spent almost his entire career with Syracuse Nationals, earning 12 consecutive All-Star nods and helping the now-defunct franchise to one NBA title. He broke Mikan’s record in 1958 and then went on to play five more seasons, bringing his total tally to 18,438 points.
Record Holder: 1964-66
Bob Pettit is known as the first player to receive the NBA MVP award in 1956. He averaged 26.4 points in the NBA, breaking Schayes’ record in 1964 and retiring with 20,880 career points the year after.
Record Holder: 1966-84
Pettit’s record only stood for two years before Wilt Chamberlain broke it in 1966 and then pushed it to seemingly unreachable heights. Upon his retirement from NBA in 1973, Chamberlain had 30.1 points per game career average and finished his storied career with 31,419 total points.
Record Holder: 1984-2023
Despite Chamberlain putting up outrageous numbers, his record didn’t manage to remain in place for two decades. Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar broke it in 1984, needing 15 seasons to do that; the same number of seasons Chamberlain played in the league. Abdul-Jabbar played five more years in the league, getting his total to 38,387 points.
Record Holder: 2023-
The game has seen many great scorers since Jabbar retired, including the game’s GOAT Michael Jordan, but neither one came close to breaking his all-time scoring record. That was until LeBron James came along. James topped Jabbar’s 38,387 career points in a 38-point performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder on February 7, 2023, to become the new NBA’s All-Time leading scorer. But James will surely not stop there and is likely to push the record past 40K in the following years, hoping his record will manage to survive more than Jabbar’s did.