NBA’s great scorers
AS great as Shaquille O’Neal (28,596), Moses Malone (27,409), Elvin Hayes (27,313), Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946) and Oscar Robertson (26,710) had been during their heyday, none of them breached the 30,000-point barrier during their distinguished careers in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
In NBA regular-season annals, only seven men have collected at least 30,000 career points. They are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Dirk Nowitzki.
Of the Magnificent Seven, only James (Los Angeles Lakers) and Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks) remain active in the current 2018-19 regular wars that conclude on April 11 (Manila time).
Chamberlain, who played 1,045 games and 14 seasons with the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers from 1959-73, was the first ever to reach the 30k-point plateau and, like Abdul-Jabbar, accomplished the feat with the Lakers.
“The Stilt” netted his 30,000th marker on February 16, 1972 during the Lakers’ 110-109 loss to the Phoenix Suns. The 7-foot-1 Chamberlain retired from the NBA in the summer of 1973 as the league’s all-time leading scorer. To date, his total of 31,419 career points still ranks No. 6 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (although the German-born Nowitzki is expected to move past Wilt in a week or two).
Chamberlain attempted to join the San Diego Conquistadors in the rival American Basketball Association (ABA) during the 1973-74 season, signing up as a player-coach. A court order, however, forbade him from playing with the ABA club since he had not played out his option year with the Lakers. Instead, Chamberlain spent the season as the Conquistadors’ head coach and piloted the club to the eight-team ABA playoffs notwithstanding a paltry 37-47 record.
Karl Malone currently ranks No. 2 on the NBA’s all-time scoring charts, trailing only Abdul-Jabbar (38,387). The Mailman delivered 36,928 points in 1,476 games during his sterling 19-year tenure with the Utah Jazz and LA Lakers from 1985-2004.
However, the 6-foot-9 power forward played just one season (2003-04) with the Lakers in search of a first NBA title ring, suiting up for only 42 games and tallying 554 points for a career-low 13.2 clip. It was in vain as the Lakers, starring four future Hall of Famers in O’Neal, Bryant, Malone and Gary Payton, dropped a 4-2 decision to the Detroit Pistons during the 2004 NBA Finals in one of the greatest championship-series upsets in league history.
If it’s any consolation, Malone owns the distinction of being the oldest NBA player with a triple-double game and he turned in the trick with the Lakers. On November 28, 2003, Malone collected 10 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists against the San Antonio Spurs to become the oldest NBAer to register a T-D at age 40 years and 127 days. He is the first and only 40-year-old player to record a T-D.
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