30,000 of anything is a lot. You can have 30,000 animals, 30,000 people, $30,000, or 30,000 points. I assume you get the point? On Tuesday, LeBron James accomplished this feat. He became just the 7th player in NBA history to do this. He was also the youngest to ever reach this mark. I wanted to take a look at the other 6 players in this club and see where LeBron stands among them. Does he have a chance to climb the ranks? Does he have a chance to to become the all-time leader in points scored?
There are 6 other players that have scored 30,000 or more points in the NBA. All of them are legends of the game. The all-time leader is Kareem Abdul Jabbar with 38, 387, Karl Malone is next with 36,928. Kobe sits in third place with 33,643 while Michael Jordan has 32,292. The next two spots are held by Wilt Chamberlain 31,419 and Dirk Nowitzki with 30,808. Dirk is still active so his number will continue to climb although I do not think he will play after this season. All of these players have historical significance of some sort. Some changed the game entirely and others just played at the highest levels possible.
Where will LeBron end up when his career is over? Obviously, that is just a guess. However, I think you can make an educated guess. These projections are being made based on LeBron not suddenly retiring and him being able to stay healthy and avoid major injuries. He should end this year with roughly 31,000. I think based on his career average of 27.1 points per game he will pass Nowitzki and Chamberlain next year. He would then need 1,300 more points to pass Michael Jordan. If he scores 25 per game next year he will be in the neighborhood around the 50 game mark. Passing Jordan, Chamberlain, and Nowitzki in the same year is some kind of progress.
He would be sitting in 4th place after next year. In the 2019-2020 season he would pass Kobe Bryant. He would then have another large gap to catch Malone and then Jabbar. Can he do it? Here is a great graph showing the career lines of James and Jabbar. As you can see they both reached the milestone in their 15th season. However, LeBron is a few years younger because he did not attend College like Kareem did. It looks like LeBron needs to play 4.5 more seasons and average around 25 per game to get to Kareem. Based on his skill set and they way he seems to be plowing along it should not be an issue. However, Father Time will catch up to him. Take a look at the end of Kobe Bryant’s career. It was filled with injury and in his last year you could see that he had hit the wall.
I think barring any major injuries and thinking that LeBron will want to continue chasing titles he can pass Kareem and get himself to the #1 position. If you are a fan of LeBron or not, you have to admit that it is an awesome accomplishment and it would certainly place him in the Mt.Rushmore of basketball legends. Even LeBron managed to congratulate himself on his accomplishment the other night. That seems a little weird! How long will his record stand? Maybe not that long because Kevin Durant is hot on his tail. That will be a different article though!