Posted March 31, 2013

Kobe Bryant passes Wilt Chamberlain for fourth on NBA’s scoring list

Ben Golliver, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain

By Ben Golliver

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant moved into the No. 4 position on the NBA’s all-time scoring list during Saturday’s game against the Kings in Sacramento. Bryant finished with 19 points (on 5-for-18 shooting), pushing his career total to 31,434 points.

Bryant passed Hall of Fame center Wilt Chamberlain, who totaled 31,419 points in a 14-year career with the Warriors, Sixers and Lakers. The 15-time All-Star guard entered Saturday needing just five points to pass Chamberlain; a pull-up jumper with a little less than eight minutes remaining in the second quarter put Bryant over the top. Bryant passed Chamberlain in game No. 1,233 of his career; Chamberlain set his mark in 1,045 games.

Bryant, 34, passed former teammate Shaquille O’Neal to enter the top five in February 2012 and became the youngest player to reach 30,000 points earlier this season. He now turns his attention to the top three: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points in 1,560 games), Karl Malone (36,928 points in 1,476 games) and Michael Jordan (32,292 points in 1,072 games).

Just 858 points now separate Bryant from Jordan on the list. If Bryant continues scoring at his current rate — 27.2 points per game — he will catch Jordan in roughly 32 games. With eight games remaining in the Lakers season, Bryant should reach the No. 3 spot on the scoring list in December 2013, assuming no major injuries and no major drop-off in his scoring average next season.

Bryant is under contract through the 2013-14 season and will make $30.5 million next year.

*This post has been updated to correct Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s point total.

Video via YouTube user Ron Artest | Hat tip: Lakers Nation


Kobe is truly a great player, but he'll never QUITE be in the same category as Jordan and Wilt.  Look how few games it took them to accumulate all those points, and that's back during eras where defensive fundamentals were still taught and stressed.  The only current player who MIGHT be in their league, so to speak, would be LeBron James; but that's only on the court (his off court attitude has gotten him in trouble more than once), and only time will tell in terms of overall career stats, with how long he's able to play.


 @GlennIverson It is a fact that Kobe had to defer to shaq the first 8 years of his career. If he had his own team from day one like MJ did, He would have passed both of them YEARS ago. Plus minutes are a better indication of this stat. Kobe STILL has played 2700 LESS minutes than Wilt. Imagine how many more points he will have 2700 minutes from now!

To say he doesn't belong to that group is absurd. Plus at his peak he was much better than what Lebron is today.


 @Shawn11  @GlennIverson 

Kobe took more games than Wilt because Kobe was a bench player his first two years and Wilt averaged around 46(!) minutes per game his entire career while Kobe is averaging 36 minutes per game,. If we'll look in scoring per minute only MJ scored more than Kobe among the top 5 all time scoring list.


points per minute in 2010


1. Jordan - 0.787 Points Per Minute

6. Kobe - 0.691 Points Per Minute

16. Malone - 0.673 Points Per Minute

19. Kareem - 0.668 Points Per Minute

23. Lebron - 0.663 Points Per Minute

25. Wilt - 0.657 Points Per Minute

John NoLastName
John NoLastName

"assuming no major injuries and no major drop-off in his scoring average next season"


And as the years go on and Kobe puts more miles on those knees and ankles, that assumption will be become less and less viable. By my arithmetic, he needs about 300-350 more games to catch Kareem. That's roughly four more full NBA seasons, which puts him at what, 38 or 39?

Certainly doable, but not guaranteed.


Ben says KAJ has 33k.  He is a professional journalist.  I'll take his word for it.


 @mikpow42 you put too much faith in "professional journalists" - clearlyKareem has 38,387 points in his career - confirmed by every source that exists, including the NBA official stats site online

M20 1 Like

Kareem has 38,387 points, not 33,387.