Kevin Durant Surpasses 5 NBA Icons in 2023-24 Scoring Rankings

Kevin Durant's remarkable journey breaks new ground in NBA.

by Faizan Chaudhary
Kevin Durant Surpasses 5 NBA Icons in 2023-24 Scoring Rankings
© Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Heading into the pivotal clash on Wednesday between the Phoenix Suns and the Philadelphia 76ers, Kevin Durant found himself on the cusp of history, positioned ninth on the NBA’s prestigious all-time scoring list. A mere nine points stood between him and surpassing Shaquille O’Neal’s formidable tally of 28,596 points to claim the eighth spot.

Durant, with his signature mid-range jump shot early in the third quarter, etched his name above O’Neal’s in the annals of NBA history during that very game. But O’Neal's record was not the sole milestone Durant transcended on his journey up the scoring ranks.

Before outpacing Shaq, Durant had already leapfrogged four other NBA titans, planting himself firmly among the elite. With Wilt Chamberlain's seventh-place mark—a daunting 3,000 points away—it appears Durant will maintain his newly acquired position for at least a couple more seasons.

Entering the 2023-24 season, Durant had amassed 26,892 points, positioning him just above Oscar Robertson in 13th place at the season's outset. Throughout his campaign with the Suns, Durant not only surpassed Robertson but also a host of other legendary scorers, culminating in his ascent past Shaquille O’Neal.

Durant's Scoring Milestones

Durant’s historic climb began with Hakeem Olajuwon, who sat 12th with 26,946 career points at the season’s start, merely 54 points ahead of Durant. It took Durant just two games to surpass “The Dream,” following an impressive 18-point game on opening night with a 39-point spectacle against the LA Lakers.

Next on the list was Elvin Hayes and his 27,313 career points. Durant, starting the season 421 points behind Hayes, made his move in his 1,000th career game, scoring 31 points against the Portland Trail Blazers to move ahead of Hayes in the rankings.

Moses Malone was the next legend in Durant's sights, holding 27,409 points for 10th place. A significant game against Nikola Jokic and the defending champions saw Durant needing 17 points to surpass Malone. Achieving this with less than a minute remaining in the second quarter, Durant finished the game with 30 points, propelling him into the top 10.

Carmelo Anthony, a familiar foe and friend, was Durant’s next target, sitting in ninth with 28,289 career points. On February 23, 2024, Durant overtook Anthony, setting the stage for his pursuit of Shaquille O’Neal’s record.

Finally, Durant surpassed O’Neal, achieving in 159 fewer games what took the legendary center his entire career. This feat not only underscored Durant’s scoring prowess but also his place among the game’s greats, as he continues to redefine the boundaries of basketball excellence.

Kevin Durant