Good scorers can average 22 points per game once, twice on their career. Great scorers adapt, adjust, and find the way to stay relevant and dominant throughout time even though defenses are constantly focusing on them.
Coaches, video coordinators, assistants, and players watch hours of their footage. They know their strengths, they have dozens of pages on their scouting report talking about how to contain them, yet the best scorers in the league always make it rain.
Needless to say, those players have written their names in history books thanks to their versatility, relentless work ethic, and untamable talents and when it’s all said and done, they’ll likely end up among the top of the ‘best player in history’ conversation. Today, we’re going to honor those lifelong scorers by talking about the top 10 players with the most 25+ PPG seasons in NBA history:
10. Dominique Wilkins – 10 Times
Back in the day, Dominique Wilkins was a walking bucket but he doesn’t get enough praise nowadays because of his lack of success in the playoffs. Still, we’re talking about a guy that even left the league a couple of years to play overseas and came back as dominant as always every time.
Wilkins averaged 25+ PPG in 10 straight seasons and won the Scoring Title in 1986. He was a perennial All-Star and one of the most athletic players to ever set foot on an NBA hardwood. Sadly, he could never win an NBA Championship.
9. Shaquille O’Neal – 10 Times
Most young fans think Shaquille O’Neal was just big and strong, but they couldn’t be more wrong. I mean, yes, Shaq was indeed one of the most dominant and physical specimens in sports history, but he was also incredibly crafty, skilled and smart.
O’Neal made the most of his physical gifts to torch his opponents for a decade. He won a couple of Scoring Titles in 1995 and 2000 and led the league in field goal percentage 10 seasons as well. He had it all to end up as the greatest player ever.
8. Allen Iverson – 10 Times
Allen Iverson had a god-given talent few players have had in the history of the game. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean he didn’t work on his craft as young fans may think by the infamous ‘Practice’ incident. However, the game always seemed to come too easy and natural for him.
Iverson has arguably the smoothest moves and handles in NBA history. If not, he’s pretty close for sure. He was a bonafide bucket-getter that would never be stopped when driving through the lane with his hops and athleticism. That’s why he won 4 Scoring Titles.
7. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – 11 Times
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a prime example of durability, longevity, and efficiency. We’re talking about a guy that averaged over 25 points per game 11 times over a 20-year career, always playing at the highest level and never averaging less than double-digit points.
His signature sky-hook was the most unstoppable shot at the time and young big men still try to replicate it up to this day. Kareem sure knew how to make the most of his length and he’s the league’s all-time leading scorer. Also, he won a couple of Scoring Titles.
6. Jerry West – 11 Times
(via Sports Illustrated)
Jerry West has to be one of the most underrated players in the history of the game. Yes, people still talk about ‘The Logo’ all the time, but they don’t realize just how good and different he was from most players during the NBA’s early days.
West was deemed the best shooting guard in history before Michael Jordan came along because of his impact in both ends of the court. He always came huge in the clutch and showed an unprecedented athleticism and craftiness at the time. Also, he won the Scoring Title in 1970.
5. Kevin Durant – 11 Times
Kevin Durant has played with a chip on his shoulder from the very second he made it to the league. He was ready to prove that he should’ve been the 1st overall pick right out of the gate and he even became the youngest Scoring Champion in the history of the game.
Durant’s skills are just a cheat-code. He’s got the handles and shot of a shooting guard and the length of a big and that rare combination is just unstoppable. Thus far, he’s won 4 Scoring Titles and we haven’t seen the last of him yet. Don’t poke the beast while it’s sleeping, as Durant will come back stronger than ever.
4. Karl Malone – 12 Times
Malone had a 20-year career in the NBA and you could argue he made a case for one of the best scorers ever. He was dominant, strong, and even though he wasn’t exactly a good three-point shooter, he added some range to his game towards the end of his career.
Karl Malone was an example of durability. He only played less than 76 games two times on his career and he made sure to deliver every time he was out there. Ironically, he never won a Scoring Title, but that’s because he played at the same time as Michael Jordan.
3. Michael Jordan – 12 Times
(via CBS Sports)
Even though he’s not at the top of this list, we all can agree that Michael Jordan is not only the greatest player of all time but also the best, most dominant scorer this game has ever seen. I mean, he would’ve piled up even more accolades if he hadn’t retired twice.
Jordan quit the game a couple of times but came back as sharp, strong, and unstoppable as usual. He has a league-record 10 Scoring Titles, something that’ll never be matched. Also, he holds the highest points-per-game average in league history at 30.1 points per game. Case closed.
2. Kobe Bryant – 12 Times
(via Business Pundit)
People have pointed out the similarities between Kobe and Jordan a lot of times so you can add yet another coincidence to the list. They both averaged 25+ 12 times throughout their careers, the only difference being that Kobe played for 20 years.
Kobe was a late bloomer and didn’t average 25+ for the first four seasons of his career. However, once he took off, he never took his foot off the gas. He won a couple of Scoring Titles and went down as the most unstoppable scorer of his generation. He’s the closest will ever find to Jordan.
1. LeBron James – 16 Times
And we find LeBron James at the top of this list, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody. James is such an example of durability and greatness that it seems like we just take him for granted at this point. We don’t talk about him as a scorer, yet he averages over 27 points per game for his career.
LeBron has only won 1 Scoring Title in 17 seasons but he’s never averaged fewer than 20.9 points, his rookie season average. He’s the most consistent and one of the most durable players of all time and if he wanted to be just a scorer, he could easily average 35+ out of pure strength and brains.
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