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The 39 NBA Players That Have the Most 40 Point Games in Their Careers

The NBA has been blessed with a plethora of prolific scorers that can heat up in an instant and dominate the game with the many ways they can put the ball in the basket. Whether it’s Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan,  Allen Iverson, James Harden, and Kevin Durant are just some of the more unstoppable players who have wowed NBA fans with their propensity for scoring throughout the years.

Scoring 30 points in a game is impressive, but the best scorers often surpass 40 points in a game.  One of the statistics to determine who the NBA’s best scorers are, are the ones  that  have scored the most 40-point games in NBA history.

NBA players With Most Career 40 Point Games

1. Wilt Chamberlain (271)

From the Archives: Wilt Chamberlain saves the ball - Los Angeles Times

It should come as a surprise to no one to see Wilt Chamberlain top this list. It seems that there isn’t a record in the NBA that doesn’t have Wilt’s name next to it. Chamberlain managed to score 40 points a whopping 271 times according to stat muse.  

The Philadelphia 76ers legend needed only 1,045 games to achieve this feat, which is the lowest among all the top 12 scorers in the NBA according to Sportskeeda. He also holds the record for most 40-point games in a season with 63 games in the 1961-1962 season.

2. Michael Jordan (173)

In second place on this list is the G.O.A.T. himself Michael Jordan. Jordan managed to score 40 points or more on 173 occasions. He led the Chicago Bulls to 6 championships and was named the MVP 5 times. Even though Jordan is second on this list, he’s won the scoring title a record ten times compared to Chamberlain’s seven- that consistency throughout MJ’s career is a reason why he ranks #1 (over Wilt) when it comes to having the most 30 point games of all-time.

3. Kobe Bryant (122)

These dudes really don't work that hard!": Kobe Bryant talked about how his childhood shaped his outlook on the NBA and the Lakers - The SportsRush

The late great Kobe Bryant is 3rd on this list and rightfully so. He managed to score 40-points 122 times in his career. Kobe’s game is modeled after Jordan’s and for the longest time, Kobe considered Jordan to be his big brother. See where Kobe ranks among the NBA’s top 75 players.

4. James Harden (101)

James Harden is one of the most prolific scorers the league has ever seen. He lands fourth on this list with 101 40-point games in his career. Harden’s step-back 3, crafty footwork, and lefty finish have made him almost unguardable back in his prime in 2017-2020 when he led the league in scoring and had a stretch of games in which he scored 30 or more points in 32 consecutive games. Things might be a bit different for Harden as he moves into his mid-30s, but “The Beard” man deserves his flowers when it comes to putting the ball in the basket.

These are the only four players to have ever scored 40 points in 100 games or more; making them the Mount Rushmore of scorers. The next closest player on the list is twelve games short of one hundred, but we’ll get into that in a minute. Check out the top 25 all-time list below:

NBA Players With Most 40 Point Games
Rank Player Number of Games with 40+ Points
1 Wilt Chamberlain 271
2 Michael Jordan 173
3 Kobe Bryant 122
4 James Harden 101
5 Elgin Baylor 88
6 Allen Iverson 79
7 Oscar Robertson 77
7 Lebron James 77
9 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 70
9 Rick Barry 70
9 Kevin Durant 70
12 George Gervin 68
12 Stephen Curry 68
14 Jerry West 66
15 Bob McAdoo 58
16 Damian Lillard 58
17 Dominique Wilkins 56
18 Adrian Dantley 52
19 Russell Westbrook 50
20 Shaquille O'Neal 49
20 Giannis Antetokounmpo 49
22 Joel Embiid 48
23 Larry Bird 47
23 Bob Pettit 47
25 Tracy McGrady 45
25 Bernard King 45
27 Karl Malone 44
28 Anthony Davis 42
28 Luka Doncic 42
30 Nate Archibald 37
30 Elvin Hayes 37
32 Carmelo Anthony 36
33 Pete Maravich 35
34 Dwyane Wade 34
35 Kyrie Irving 33
35 Trae Young 33
35 Alex English 33
38 Hakeem Olajuwon 32
38 Vince Carter 32
38 Devin Booker 31
41 Bradley Beal 31
42 Patrick Ewing 30

5. Elgin Baylor (88)

Elgin Baylor, first of the airborne, blazed vertical trail of basketball artistry | NBA.com

Elgin Baylor gets lost when we talk about the greatest players of all-time, Mount Rushmores and so on, but the electric small forward is one of the best in the game. One of the many scoring accomplishments is finding him in the top five of this list alongside Wilt, MJ, Kobe, James Harden and as you can see above greats like LeBron, Curry, and Kareem.

At #5, Baylor scored 40 points eighty-eight times in his career mostly with the Los Angeles Lakers. Baylor managed to reach the forty point plateau four times in the NBA Finals. His most remarkable achievement was scoring 61 points against the Boston Celtics in the Finals of 1962. 

6. Allen Iverson (79)

With 79 games of 40 or more points, sixth on the list is a bit of a surprise. It’s not the two leading scorers in all of NBA history — not Kareem nor LeBron James, but it’s Allen Iverson. This just show how unstoppable and talented a scorer that the 6-0 Iverson was in his prime. Of the 25 players on this list, Iverson is not only the shortest player on this list, but wasn’t overly reliant on the three-point shot.

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