CHART OF THE DAY: The NBA's All-Time Leading Scorers

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On Tuesday, Kobe Bryant passed Moses Malone for sixth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. But as Bethlehem Shoals pointed out, sports fans are not very familiar with career totals in basketball.

Part of the problem is just the sheer size of the numbers. For example, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer with 38,387. That number is big and clunky and does not have the simplicity or sex appeal of 755, Hank Aaron’s career home run total. By the way, that number’s popularity still far outweighs Barry Bonds’ total of…wait, how many did he hit?

So instead of focusing on the numbers themselves, let’s visualise them. Below is a chart of the NBA’s top 30 scorers all-time. Players in red are still active.

Now that Kobe is sixth all-time, he has just Shaq to surpass to become the leading scorer among active players. But after that, moving up the list becomes much slower. While the difference between Kobe (no. 6) and Allen Iverson (no. 17) is about 3,000 points, Kobe will need almost 4,000 points to catch Wilt Chamberlain for no. 4 on the list.

And if Kobe ever wants to become the NBA’s all-time scorer, he will need 10,964 more points. That would require Kobe to average 25 points per game for the next six seasons, or 20 points per game for the next seven. In seven seasons, Kobe will be 39.

Not impossible.

All data via

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