Somewhere along his path towards becoming the NBA’s all-time scoring leader, LeBron James It has reached the final state of being an offensive power: Unguardable.
James said in January, looking back at his career the day after he joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only other player in league history to have accumulated 38,000 career points. And you get smarter and smarter, she says, “Teams know they can pull these things off, so how can I make sure I’m not guarded and can always put myself in a position where I do what I want to do and not what the defense wants me to do?” “
Through regular season losses and playoff series exits when opposing defenses targeted holes in James’ game, the four-time eventual MVP and four-time champion was handed a cheat sheet to learn what to work on.
“There were times when I didn’t have a low game — I wasn’t a low threat,” James told ESPN. “There were times when I wasn’t a middle-class threat. There were times when I wasn’t an outsider. There were times when you could literally try to get me to do things I wasn’t cool at.”
“I’ve evolved into where on earth I do what I want to do. And I take the picture I want to take.”
As much as James’ game as a leading scorer has evolved in his 20 seasons in the NBA, consider the dramatic transformation of professional basketball as a whole. When the league began in November 1946, the Boston Celtics had more players on their roster shorter than 6-foot (three) than were taller than 6-6 (two). There was a narrower corridor. No dunks. no 3 sec. Even rebounds, assists, blocks or steals are not counted in the official box.
But she always tracked the points – and who was responsible for them. As James moves toward the top of the scoring – he needs less than 300 points to Record the record Here’s a look at the seven players who will hold the torch in front of him.
Note: The years listed for each player are the years in which they were at the top of the scoring list.
Joe Foulkes: 1946-1952
He was the first to wear an NBA title, winning back-to-back scoring titles in his first two seasons in the league with the Philadelphia Warriors. The two-time All-Star and 1947 champion scored 8,003 points in his eight-year career, played strong forward and stood 6-5, 190 pounds.
The league was a different place at the time, as evidenced by Foulkes winning the scoring title in his second season averaging 22.1 points on 29.3 field goal attempts per game. There are 23 players averaging over 22.1 points per game this season but none that come close to Foulkes’ shot attempts. Luka Doncic He ranks No. 1 with 22.7 tries per match, closely followed by No. 2 with James’ 22.6 tries.
George Mikan: 1952-1957
The NBA markets itself through its stars, and Mikan was its first star, winning five rings in seven seasons and knocking Folks off his perch forever on November 8, 1952, after the two played hot potato with the record, going back and forth four times in March of that year. Mikan was more than just horn-rimmed glasses, a firm handshake and a funky number 99 shirt. The 6-10 center averaged over 27 points in each of his first three seasons and scored a career best 61 points in January 1952.
Ed McCauley: 1957
After spending the first seven years of his career in Boston, the St. Louis native returned home, joining the St. Louis Hawks to end his decorated time in the league. He won a championship in his second-to-last season, defeating his former Celtics team that included a few future Hall of Famers.
The 6-8 center never averaged more than 20.4 points in a season, but he did get a short stint as the league’s all-time leading scorer through consistency. He led the league in games played in three of his ten seasons and also has the best field goal percentage in the NBA in 1953-54 at 48.6%.
Dolph Shayes: 1957-1963
Schayes was a big man with a soft touch, leading the league in free throw percentage three times and shooting 84.9% from the tape overall during his 15-year career.
The 12-time All-Star won a championship with the Syracuse Nationals in 1955, beginning a streak of six straight seasons in which he averaged over 20 points per game early in his career. He earned his place as the league’s leading scorer through longevity and consistency, leading the NBA in games played four times and minutes played twice as a 6-8, 220-pound forward. His son, Danny, went on to have an 18-year career in the NBA.
Bob Pettit: 1963-1966
The #2 pick in the 1954 draft by LSU, the “Bombardier of Baton Rouge” lived up to his stock as a prospect, enjoying a decorating career as often as it comes. Pettitte led the St. Louis Hawks to the championship over Boston in 1958, putting up 50 points and 19 rebounds in a series that clinched a 110-109 win in Game Six.
Pettitte was a two-time MVP and two-time scoring champion. He averaged 20 extra points per game in each of his 11 seasons, and peaked at 31.1 points per game in 1961-62. He was a star every year he was in the league and was named the All-Star Player of the Year four times. At 6-9, 205 pounds, he was an agile tackler and relied on a hook shot that got ahead of Abdul-Jabbar. He just turned 90 last month and was a celebrity guest at All-Star Weekend in Cleveland last year, when he was honored as a member of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team.
Chamberlain is the Paul Bunyan of the NBA, having accomplished so many unimaginable things on the basketball court that sound like folklore.
Average 50 points for a season? Wilt did it.
Score 100 in a game? Also this.
Grab 55 rebounds against Bill Russell for everyone? yes.
How about an average of 48.5 minutes for a season where games are only 48 minutes long? Or leading the NBA in assists for a season as a center, when basketball without a center wasn’t his thing? Or played 1045 matches in his career and did not spoil in a single match? Chamberlain did all of that.
He’s one of the real game-changers in the NBA, as the league literally changed the lane dimensions because Chamberlain’s legs were so long he could just go over the old switch, keeping his feet out of the paint to avoid a three-second violation by camping. himself close to the basket.
Although rich on his resume with four MVPs, two championships, and 13 All-Star nods, his scoring acumen may be the most impressive aspect of his impeccable career. Chamberlain won the scoring title seven times, averaged 35 points a game six times, and finished his career with an average of 30.066 points per game, slightly bettering Michael Jordan’s career tally of 30.12, giving him the second-highest points tally. average in league history.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 1984-present
On April 5, 1984, Abdul-Jabbar received a pass from Magic Johnson. He established a position along the baseline with his back to the basket, swung his right foot back as if he was going to drive toward the paint and then swerved away from the fairway to launch his signature sky hook over his right shoulder when he was 12 feet from the hoop. The ball only found the net.
He passed Chamberlain as the leading scorer in the NBA that day and owned the mark for nearly 40 years.
The fact that Abdul-Jabbar had a 7-4 Utah Jazz center Mark Eaton Guarding him and rendering him useless as a defender with his graceful flick of the wrist out of Eton’s reach only emphasized the unstoppable move he had developed.
Abdul-Jabbar played five more seasons with Los Angeles after setting the mark, tying him at the top by about 7,000 more points before retiring. The extra points proved insurmountable decades later when the likes of Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone He pushed Dirk Nowitzki past Chamberlain’s 31,419 but then ran out time on both careers before catching up to the “Captain”.
Abdul-Jabbar scored 38,387 points due to his physical talents, 7-2 standing, and skill, for sure. But it was also a life-long feat, hitting his body on the hardwood until he was 41 years old. Continuing to dedicate himself to the sport, he finished his career with three NBA Finals appearances and two championship rings in his last three seasons.
He ended up averaging 24.6 points per game, shooting 55.9% from the field and 72.1% from the foul line, while making exactly 1 3-pointer.
James will wear the scoring crown before long, and as Abdul-Jabbar did after passing Chamberlain, he’ll only add to his own record with two more seasons on his Lakers contract, keeping him in the league for at least 22 seasons before calling it quits. Quit.
It may be another 40 years before another name is added to this sacred list.