With When LeBron James soon to hit the 20,000 point milestone, he’ll join just he was the youngest to do so, but did that mean he was also the fastest to 20,000 points? No, not by a long shot when using games played as the measure.
Here’s the complete list of all
38 39 40 41 NBA players sorted by how many games they needed to reach the twenty-thousand point barrier with the exact dates they hit that mark (when available*), and how many seasons it took.
|1||Wilt Chamberlain||499||1965-66 season||7th||more>|
|3||Oscar Robertson||671||1968-69 season||9th||more>|
|4||Kareem Abdul-Jabbar||684||1976-77 season||9th||more>|
|5||Elgin Baylor||711||1968-69 season||11th||more>|
|21||Elvin Hayes||~840||1978-79 season||10th||more>|
|30||John Havlicek||915||1973-74 season||12th||more>|
|35||Walt Bellamy||971||1973-74 season||13th||more>|
|36||Hal Greer||981||1970-71 season||13th||more>|
No surprise that Wilt Chamberlain heads this list. With his otherworldly scoring averages, Wilt was the only player to net 20,000 points in 7 seasons (499 games). The next fastest to 20,000 was Michael Jordan, but he needed 9 seasons and 620 games, a full 121 games more than Chamberlain.
This list is as much a showcase of some of the most prolific scorers in NBA history, players such as Wilt, Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone and Allen Iverson, as it is to those players that consistently put up solid numbers year after year.
Next up? Tony Parker is 2000+ away from 20,000, but with a declining role in San Antonio and Kevin Durant right behind him, look for Durant to leap frog Parker and hit the milestone sometime in early 2017-18.
There are plenty of players that weren’t as prolific scorers as a George Gervin, Shaquille O’Neal, Adrian Dantley, Bob Petit, or Dominique Wilkins, but their long careers help them inch up the list.
Players like Reggie Miller, Gary Payton, and Robert Parish made this list in large part to the longevity of their careers. Parish, for example, never averaged more than 19.9 points per game, but the “Chief” methodically dropped in 20,000 points after 16 seasons and 1215 games.
Miller and Payton only averaged more than 24 points in one season during their careers. Otherwise, they were rarely injured, allowing them to put up all-star numbers seasons after season.
With so many NBA superstars that have passed through the league in the last several decades, this elite club is surprisingly small. Tom Chambers and Vince Carter make the list and Antwan Jamison will likely join them later this year or next, while Hall of Fame players like Isiah Thomas, Dr. J, Kevin McHale, Scottie Pippen, Rick Barry, John Stockton, and James Worthy missed the cut?
It’s really a tribute to the players on the list.
* For players from 1970’s and before, individual boxscores weren’t available and exact data was difficult to come by, but I was able to approximate the game in which they hit the milestone by using their season’s scoring average. See anything off? Have some tips? Please contact me.