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 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.
|Wilt Chamberlain||499||1965-66 season||7th||more>|
|Michael Jordan||620||January 8 1993||9th||more>|
|Oscar Robertson||671||1968-69 season||9th||more>|
|Kareem Abdul-Jabbar||684||1976-77 season||9th||more>|
|Elgin Baylor||711||1968-69 season||11th||more>|
|Allen Iverson||713||January 23 2007||11th||more>|
|Jerry West||~720||December 19 1970||11th||more>|
|LeBron James||726||January 16 2013||10th||more>|
|Shaquille O’Neal||727||March 20 2003||11th||more>|
|George Gervin||747||January 11 1986||10th||more>|
|Bob Petit||~760||November 13 1964||11th||more>|
|Dominique Wilkins||763||November 05 1992||10th||more>|
|Karl Malone||772||January 20 1995||10th||more>|
|Adrian Dantley||775||December 11 1987||12th||more>|
|Larry Bird||809||November 30 1990||12th||more>|
|Kobe Bryant||811||December 23 2007||12th||more>|
|David Robinson||824||March 05 2002||12th||more>|
|Hakeem Olajuwon||833||November 11 1995||12th||more>|
|Moses Malone||837||April 12 1987||11th||more>|
|Elvin Hayes||~840||1978-79 season||10th||more>|
|Patrick Ewing||845||November 19 1996||12th||more>|
|Charles Barkley||858||February 08 1996||12th||more>|
|Dirk Nowitzki||876||January 13 2010||12th||more>|
|Vince Carter||884||January 17 2011||13th||more>|
|Paul Pierce||889||November 10 2010||12th||more>|
|Mitch Richmond||900||February 5 2001||13th||more>|
|Alex English||903||January 6 1988||12th||more>|
|John Havlicek||915||1973-74 season||12th||more>|
|Tim Duncan||938||January 22 2012||13th||more>|
|Clyde Drexler||967||November 24 1996||13th||more>|
|Kevin Garnett||979||March 9 2008||13th||more>|
|Ray Allen||964||December 10 2009||14th||more>|
|Walt Bellamy||971||1973-74 season||13th||more>|
|Hal Greer||981||1970-71 season||13th||more>|
|Reggie Miller||1021||November 17 2000||14th||more>|
|Antawn Jamison||1070||December 13 2013||16th||more>|
|Tom Chambers||1090||April 15 1995||14th||more>|
|Gary Payton||1113||November 11 2004||15th||more>|
|Robert Parish||1215||January 17 1992||16th||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.
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 make this list thanks to their longevity. Parish, for example, never averaged 20 points, but the “Chief” get 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.