Kareem Abdul Jabbar is still the leading scorer in the history of the NBA, a record he still holds today despite retiring 33 years ago.
How many Career Points did Kareem Abdul Jabbar have? Kareem finished his career with 38,387 points across his 20-year career. Kareem Abdul Jabbar also had 5,762 points in the playoffs.
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Kareem Abdul Jabbar is one of the best NBA players of all time, a fact that is unanimous amongst NBA fans. He is so good that NBA legends like Pat Riley, Isiah Thomas and Julius Erving have called Kareem the greatest basketball player of all time as well as many people calling Kareem the greatest scorer of all time.
Kareem was always destined for basketball having grown to 6ft 8in by the time he was 14 and was already dunking a basketball by that time. His high school career is one of the best of all time thanks to a 71-game winning streak that led to three straight New York City Catholic championships.
Kareem wanted to go straight to the NBA but had to go to college first as those were the NBA rules at the time. His goal was always to attend college so Kareem chose to go to UCLA. It was a decision which turned out pretty well for the centre.
Having played extremely well in the freshman team his first season at UCLA, Kareem made his varsity debut as a sophomore in 1966 and immediately received national coverage, mainly thanks to scoring 56 points in his first game. This broke the UCLA single-game record in Kareem’s first appearance.
His time with UCLA would be one of the most successful college careers of all time. Kareem was a three-time national player of the year, three-time unanimous first-team All-American and won three straight NCAA championships. He was so dominant in college that the NCAA banned dunking to try to curtail his dominance.
His incredible college career meant that he went number one overall in the 1969 NBA draft, going to the Milwaukee Bucks having declined a huge offer from the Harlem Globetrotters. He was an immediate success as the Bucks went from the worst team in the NBA to having the second-best record at 56-25.
Kareem set multiple records for scoring in his first season on his way to NBA Rookie of the Year. He averaged 28.8 points per game, the fourth highest in NBA history. He also set a record for 10 or more games with 20 plus points scored during the playoffs which has not been beaten since.
Despite his brilliance, Kareem on his own was not enough to win the title and the Bucks acquired All-Star guard Oscar Robertson. Unsurprisingly, this led Milwaukee to the best record in the league as Kareem won his first MVP award in his second season, scoring 2596 points across the season.
It was also Kareem’s first season averaging more than 30 points per game as well as winning his first title. His scoring would get even better a year later as Kareem had his best season. He averaged 34.8 points per game which was his career high. It was another 2822 total points to his record.
This scoring prowess would continue with the Bucks as he became the first player in NBA history to win the MVP award twice in his first three years. Kareem won back-to-back scoring titles in his second and third years as Kareem quickly established himself as one of the best players in the NBA.
All of his incredible achievements did not lead to any more titles with the team that drafted him and was looking for a move away from the Midwest. Kareem made it clear he wanted to go to a major city like New York or Los Angeles, eventually getting his third choice move.
Kareem was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers and began some incredible performances with very little help. He won back-to-back MVP awards in his first two years with the Lakers despite the team missing the playoffs in the first year and losing in the conference finals.
Kareem’s scoring continued to be excellent in his first few years with Los Angeles as he averaged more than 25 points per game in his first three seasons with the Lakers. But the team still struggled with playoff disappointment.
That was until they lucked into the first overall pick in the 1979 draft and they quickly became the dominant team of the 1980s, becoming the Showtime Lakers. It was after Johnson’s drafting that Kareem became less important to the Lakers but still kept up an incredible scoring record.
He won his final MVP title in 1980 when the Lakers won the title behind Kareem and rookie Finals MVP Magic Johnson. Despite taking a secondary role in the team, Kareem still averaged more than 20 points per game for the seven seasons after Magic was drafted, including averaging 25.7 points per game in the 1985 NBA finals where he was named MVP.
After five titles with the Lakers, Kareem retired in 1989, retiring as the highest scorer of all time for a few different reasons. The first simply was just how good Kareem was at basketball.
Standing at 7ft 2in, you might assume that Kareem relied on his height to score and did not necessarily have much skill. But his agility and basketball IQ is what made Kareem so special. He had the only automatic shot in basketball history. The skyhook was completely unstoppable and it is why Kareem often averaged almost 60% from the field.
It led him to become the incredible scorer that he is known as. But it takes more than just being a brilliant scorer to become the leading scorer in the history of the NBA. Kareem Abdul Jabbar had some incredible longevity in his NBA career.
Kareem was very rarely ever injured, never missing more than 20 games in a season even though Kareem played into his 40s. Taking care of his body so well meant that Kareem could play 1560 regular season NBA games, helping to make him the highest scorer in the history of the NBA.