Five Players Who Could Top the All Time NBA Scoring List

With all the recent hype surrounding Kobe Bryant overtaking Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list, we thought we’d take a look at the list and compile a countdown of the active players most likely to climb atop the ranks currently topped by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

So, just who can pass that ever elusive 38,387 point mark, if anyone?

Kobe Bryant (3rd– 32,413)

Kobe Bryant

The highest ranked active player, Kobe Bryant currently sits third in the rankings with 32,413 points to his name.

He’s obviously been in the news since passing MJ on the scoring list at the end of 2014 and is by far the closest to Kareem’s record in terms of active players.

Sitting 4,515 points behind Karl Malone, the ageing Lakers’ star needs to produce at vintage levels as well as staying healthy to catch up with the top two on the list, something which is looking less and less likely, even with the Black Mamba’s ambitious mind-set.

If Kobe is to catch Kareem though, he’d need to average 28.1ppg until the end of the 2017/18 season, without missing a single game to injury, making him 39 years of age after 21 seasons in the league.

Probability: Unlikely (even for someone like Kobe)

Dirk Nowitzki (8th– 27,382)

Dirk Nowitzki

Arguably the best European baller to hit the NBA hardwood, Dirk Nowitzki is currently 8th on the all-time scoring list, just 27 points behind Moses Malone, meaning he’s likely to find himself in the 7th spot sooner rather than later.

However, despite his proximity to Moses’ spot, he’d need to average a whopping 51.9ppg until the end of the 2017/18 season, which would make him 39 years of age but having played only 19 seasons.

It’s the lack of NBA seasons which really made Dirk’s chances plummet, and with a freakish average like this, we’d have to see the German play into his mid-forties for any realistic chance of him taking the record.

On the plus side, Dirk will be far and away the highest scoring European player in the NBA for a good while…

Probability: Pretty much Impossible…

Lebron James (23rd– 23,901)

Lebron James

A one of a kind player of our generation, Lebron James offers freakish athleticism and an unbelievable level of ability, and in his 12th NBA season, is looking like a legitimate candidate for the top spot in the future if all goes to plan.

The ‘King’ is currently 23rd in the all-time scoring list, and sits 467 points behind Allen Iverson and is looking like one of the more realistic usurpers of Kareem’s thrown in the years to come.

It’s obviously a long way off, but if Lebron averages just 20.6ppg until the end of the 2022/23 season, he’ll find himself atop the list at age 39, after 20 full seasons in the NBA, something which could definitely be seen as a realistic proposition.

Given Lebron’s durability and sheer ability we think this is a real possibility, the only question sits on his mindset, as he has yet to prove he’s really got that spirit which players like Jordan and Kobe possess.

Probability: We’d put money on it!

Carmelo Anthony (37th– 20,675)

Carmelo Anthony

From the very same draft class as Lebron, Carmelo Anthony is also in the running to top the all-time scoring records if he continues to produce offensively.

Currently 37th in the ranks, just 33 points behind George Gervin, Melo needs to average 25.2ppg until the end of the 2022/23 season which would similarly make him 39 years of age after 20 seasons in the league.

Melo’s health has come into question this season however, meaning he could be shut down for the rest of the 2014/15 campaign, so his career could well be on a downfall.

Hopefully he can overcome these issues and continue to pour in the points to carry on climbing the record tables.

Probability: Unlikely, but plausible

Kevin Durant (127th– 15,131)

Kevin Durant

The youngest player in our top five, Kevin Durant has already proven himself as a terrific scorer, and despite sitting at a lowly 127th for now, could well become the all-time leading scorer if he carries on his style of play.

He’s just 160 points behind John Drew, and with his variety of skills on the offensive side of the court, Durant can hurt teams in a lot of ways, whether it’s from beyond the arc or inside the paint.

To top the scoring list, KD will need to average just 22.6ppg until the end of the 2026/27 season, when he’ll be pushing 40, having played 20 NBA seasons.

Considering the fact that he’s averaging above that on his career right now, we wouldn’t put it past him to climb ahead of Abdul-Jabbar at some point, as long as he stays healthy.

Probability: A relatively safe bet

One thing to remember when considering Kareem’s record is that he did it with just one made three point attempt, scoring the majority of his points from inside the paint, something none of the above players will ever match.

So whilst Kareem’s record will be passed, his inside scoring won’t be, at least not for a while…

Who do you think will be the first NBA players to pass the 38,387 point mark? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

*All point totals correct as of January 4th 2015

Luke Hatfield is the creator and editor of BouncyOrangeBall, with an extensive knowledge of the NBA and basketball in general.

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