October 23, 2014

LeBron James youngest, but not fastest NBA player to 20,000 points

2013/01/16 8:27 pm 4660 5 comments

After 726 career games, LeBron James has joined an elite club of basketball players who have scored 20,000 points in their NBA career.

LeBron James is the 38th NBA player to score 20,000 points

James needed just 18 points going into his game against the Golden State Warrios to hit the 20,000 point milestone. LeBron hit the mark in the second quarter – making “The King” the youngest player to reach 20,000, but only the 8th fastest player to ever do so (more on that a little later).

(We’re going to brag a little here: Five years ago, Interbasket predicted LeBron would hit the 20,000 point mark at 730 games – not bad.)

First things first, let’s give LBJ the props. At just 28 years and 17 days, Lebron took the mantle of “Youngest NBA player to 20,000 points” by accomplishing that feat 470 days before Kobe Bryant, the previous “youngest.”

Youngest NBA Players to 20,000

  1. LeBron James 28 years, 17 days
  2. Kobe Bryant  29 years, 122 days.
  3. Wilt Chamberlain 29 years, 134 days old
  4. Michael Jordan 29 years, 326 days old.
  5. Oscar Robertson 30 years and 97 days old
  6. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 30 years, 342 days

Removing Age from the Scoring Milestones

Age is great and it’s a nice-looking accomplishment, but as we discussed here and here before – age-related records sound more impressive than they actually are. No matter how you look at it, using age is not a fair comparison.

Players enter the league at different ages – especially when there are minimum age requirements imposed by the league. NBA schedules impact when a player will reach their plateau – meaning if LeBron played Golden State on Tuesday instead of Wednesday night, the record would be different, and let’s not forget about how injuries and shortened seasons affect records based off age; they’re rife with caveats.

If you’re looking for the NBA players that were the “fastest to 20,000 points,” then we need a measure that’s fair. And using games played works well for true apples-to-apples comparisons. In that list, LeBron is 8th all-time, after Jerry West (#7 at 720 games) and beating Shaquille O’Neal by one game (#9 at 727 games).

Including LeBron James, here’s a list of top ten NBA players quickest to 20,000 points.

Player Games Date Season
Wilt Chamberlain 499 1965-66 7th
Michael Jordan 620 January 08 1993 9th
Oscar Robertson 671 1968-69 9th
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 684 1976-77 9th
Elgin Baylor 711 1968-69 11th
Allen Iverson 713 January 23 2007 11th
Jerry West ~720 1970-71 11th
LeBron James 726 Jan 15 2013 10th
Shaquille O’Neal 727 Mar 20 2003 11th
George Gervin 747 Janu 11 1986 10th
See the full list

Other notable players that have hit the 20,000 plateau include Kevin Garnett (979), Patrick Ewing (845), Dirk Nowitzki (876), Charles Barkley (858), Clyde Drexler (967), and Reggie Miller (1021). See the full list of all 38 players that have reached 20,000 and how many games it took them.

5 Comments

  • I’m glad someone sees this in the correct context, with the media, maybe as they should, inflating every story to the superiority of the modern day. If truely is the number of seasons or games that actually matters. And wilts 499 is truely amazing. Another thing that bothers me is the …” Since 2005 first player too…” Or “since 1998 first team too” , as if a first or new accomplishment . It’s either first or best or not. I do understand the bigger the accomplishment the more important the story . It’s just become ridiculous . And remember , Mj did it with hand checking and opponents allowed to protect the rim with force.

  • As always, when it copmes to the basketball record book, there is Wilt, then there are the mere mortals.

  • Anonymous

    During the 1960’s avg height About 6’9″. The whole 6’6″ 220 lb center theory is a complete myth, as the 1960s was chalked full of great big men including Russell, Chamberlain, Bellamy, Reed, Thurmond, and many more. Also keep in mind the NBA was less about promoting players back then, so tools like measuring with shoes and height exaggeration were not commonplace back then, unlike today.

    However, you need to understand that Chamberlain is also the greatest individual athlete in the history of sports, in terms of a physical specimen. In his prime, he was 7’1″, 275 lb (Dwight Howard but taller basically), could run a 10.7 100 meter, 48 inch vertical (roughly Michael Jordans) and had a 500 lb bench press (more than Shaq). He also was extremely skilled. He had a deadly fadeaway and tons of post moves. He lead the league in assists because he wanted to show people he could. Jordan never lead the NBA in assist only score and the Jordan RULES carry the bull on his way top the basket…..

  • Wilt is simply the GOAT! It’s sad that people don’t talk about him as much because there are is so less footage about him, but if people would truly investigate about him they would understand VERY fastly that he is the GOAT! And there’s not anyone near to dethrone him!

  • it says youngest not shortest time or game to reach 20,000 milestone and among those list he was the youngest so he owns the title. just my 2 cents.

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