LeBron James is set to become the second-highest points-scorer in NBA history in the next few weeks and will be setting his sights on being the most prolific player of all-time in the next season or two.
But who else, apart from the Los Angeles Lakers small forward, is in the top five. Here we take a look at the list that contains some of the game’s biggest legends.
5 – Michael Jordan – 32,292 points
Michael Jordan is regarded by many as the greatest basketball player of all time, playing 15 seasons in the league and winning six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls.
He was voted the most-valuable player in all six of those finals series and, while he claimed a gold medal at both the Los Angeles and Barcelona Olympics, it is his exploits in the Windy City for which he will be remembered and which inspired the successful Netflix documentary series ‘The Last Dance’.
He also had a two-year spell at the Washington Wizards after a sabbatical during which he attempted to carve out a career for himself in baseball, but his hefty NBA points tally came at an average of 30.1 per game.
4 – Kobe Bryant – 33,643 points
Kobe Bryant’s professional career started in 1996 and he spent all 20 of his NBA seasons at the Lakers, despite being drafted by the Charlotte Hornets, and earned five NBA titles and appeared in 18 All-Star games during that period.
His average was smaller than Jordan’s as his tally was amassed at 25 per game, but he had some other notable personal achievements.
His tally of 81 points in the Lakers’ 122-104 win over the Toronto Raptors on June 22, 2006 was the second-highest individual score in NBA history, while 14 months later, he became the oldest player to score 60 points in one match when the Lakers beat Memphis Grizzlies 121-119.
Bryant was tragically killed alongside his daughter and seven other people in a helicopter crash in California in January 2020.
3 – LeBron James – 36,612 points (and counting)
LeBron James is 37 years old but is showing no signs of slowing down and is the only player to have won NBA Championships with three different franchises – the Miami Heat, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers.
James is often pitched against Jordan in debates about who is the best player of all-time and no player can match the 7,631 points he has scored in the playoffs, at an average of 28.7 per game.
He led the Cavaliers to their first championship win in 2016 and even followed in Jordan’s footsteps to star in the sequel of the Hollywood movie Space Jam.
With the Lakers fourth in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference, a run to the finals this year looks unlikely, but there is still plenty of time for him to push his tally to greater heights.
2 – Karl Malone – 36,928 points
Karl Malone is the player firmly in King James’s sights and the former Utah Jazz and Lakers power forward is not too far in front.
The Mailman appeared in the NBA final three times in his 18-year career, in which he never failed to reach the playoffs, but he was unable to capture a ring, including in his final year at the Lakers.
He built a formidable partnership with John Stockton at Utah and holds the NBA record for free throws, having successfully netted 9,787 of them with a success percentage of 74.2.
1 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – 38,387 points
If Malone is on the horizon, then James still has a little way to go to be the game’s most prolific scorer, but he will undoubtedly have Kareen Abdul-Jabbar’s record on his hit-list.
Born Lew Alciindor, he took his Muslim name after winning the first of his six NBA championship with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1971 and became famed for his skyhook shot that became his trademark.
He left the Bucks after six seasons, heading to the Lakers and, after a 20-year career, no player has won more than his total of 1,074 matches.
Abdul-Jabbar scored his record tally of points at 24.6 points per game and is regarded as the greatest centre to have ever played.