Every successful basketball team throughout history has shared one common feature: it has had at least one player who scores an alarming number of points. It sounds simplistic but scoring points is what wins you games. Having a go-to player, an elite-level star who seemingly finds the basket for fun and building the team around them is often the difference between a team becoming NBA champions or finishing as also-rans.

With the 2022-23 NBA season right around the corner, many people are currently devising an NBA betting strategy that will be heavily linked to selecting teams that have high points scorers on the roster. However, you may be surprised to learn that only two of the NBA’s all-time top 10 leading scorers are currently active in the NBA, and only one occupies a top-five spot. These superstars are those top five.

Kareen Abdul-Jabbar – 38,387 points

Kareen Adbul-Jabbar, born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr, is a legend of the game and a player considered to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time. The Milwaukee Bucks selected the 7ft 2in tall center as the first overall pick in 1969. Abdul-Jabbar spent six seasons with the Bucks before spending 14 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers.

During his 20-year career, Adbul-Jabbar scored an incredible 38,387 points over 1,560 games, averaging 24.6 points per game. Amazingly, he only scored one three-point field goal by the time he retired, aged 42 years old.

LeBron James – 37,062 points

LeBron James ranks second in the NBA’s all-time scoring charts with an impressive 37,062 points from 1,366 games played and is the only active NBA star in the top five rankings. “King James” is still going strong despite being 37 years of age, so there is an outside chance that the 6ft 9in small forward will manage to overtake Abdul-Jabbar in the scoring charts. Indeed, he may overtake Abdul-Jabbar this coming season if he stays fit because he scored almost 1,700 points during the last campaign.

The four-time NBA champion and four-time NBA MVP started his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers before becoming a superstar at Miami Heat. James returned to the Cavaliers before signing for the Los Angeles Lakers, where he plies his trade today.

Karl Malone – 36,928 points

Karl Malone finds himself third in the NBA scoring charts with 36,928 points from 1,476 games played. Malone was the stand-out player for the Utah Jazz from 1985 to 2003, where he was selected as an NBA All-Star on 14 occasions.

Malone rarely missed a game through injury or illness during his entire 19-season playing career, thanks to him being a model professional on and off the court. Only 255 of his points came from three-point field goals (85).

Kobe Bryant – 33,643 points

The late Kobe Bryant scored the fourth-most points in NBA history with 33,643 points in 1,346 games, all of which were played in the colors of the Los Angeles Lakers. The 6ft 6in shooting guard was an incredible talent who was equally as deadly making three-pointers as he was standard field goals. Bryant scored 1,827 three-point field goals during his career, the tenth-highest total in the history of the NBA.

Bryant would likely have caught Adbul-Jabbar had he not endured two injury-plagued seasons between 2013-15 before hanging up his boots at the end of the 2016 campaign.

Sadly, Bryant died in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020. Bryant’s 13-yar-old daughter Gianna was among the ten people who died that day.

Michael Jordan – 32,292 points

Michael Jordan is widely considered to be the greatest ever basketball player, and he ranks fifth in the scoring charts with 32,292 points from 1,072 games. Jordan is the all-time leader regarding points per game, with an average of 30.1; only Wilt Chamberlain from the 1960s and early 70s has more than 30 points per game.

Even 19 years after retiring from the NBA in 2003, Jordan is still the face of the NBA because his superstardom made him a global cultural icon. In 2016, Jordan became the first billionaire player in the NBA, and he is still frequently seen courtside because he is the principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets.