Wilt Chamberlain is perhaps the most dangerous shotmaker in NBA history. He holds the NBA record for most points in a game (100), most points per game in a season (50.4) and most field goals in a season (1,597), but because he played in an era without many of the modern medical advancements that make the sort of longevity current players achieve possible, some of his career records are vulnerable.
LeBron James has already passed him on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, for instance. He did so in November of 2018, right after he joined Chamberlain’s former team, the Los Angeles Lakers. On Thursday, he passed Chamberlain on another all-time list. With his third field goal against the Denver Nuggets, James reached 12,682 for his career. That gives him the third-most in NBA history. The play came early in the first quarter on a layup.
James still has a ways to go before he catches the two players currently ahead of him on that list, who also happen to be the NBA’s two all-time leading scorers. Both are former Lakers. Karl Malone is in second with 13,528 made field goals, while Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the all-time leader with 15,837.
LeBron averages roughly 735 made field goals per season for his career. Therefore, assuming he maintains his current pace, he would pass Malone towards the end of next season, and then need another three seasons or so to catch Kareem. It should be noted, though, that the degree of difficulty on LeBron’s shots is somewhat higher as he plays in an NBA dominated by the 3-pointer. Abdul-Jabbar attempted 18 in his entire career, while Chamberlain did not play in a league with a 3-point line. When LeBron ultimately does pass Kareem, it will be that much more impressive.