Leading Scorers In NBA Playoff History
By far the most popular and wealthy basketball league worldwide, the NBA has seen countless legendary MVPs strut their stuff on the court. From Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James to the late and greatly missed Kobe Bryant, the league has been a hotbed for mercurial talent since its inaugural 1946-47 season. These legendary players wouldn’t have achieved such fame without a consistent run of form throughout the season, but there’s no denying the NBA Playoffs are where it really counts.
Last year, the Milwaukee Bucks won only their second title. Spearheaded by Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Finals MVP, they swept all competition aside to win their first championship since 1971. Star players make all the difference in the hotly contested playoffs, the last part of the season that truly separates the men from the boys. It got us thinking: who are the leading scorers in NBA Playoff history? Keep reading as we explore this.
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About the NBA Playoffs
For anyone still unaware of exactly how the NBA Playoffs work, let us enlighten you with a brief roundup. The top eight teams at the end of the standard season in the Western and Eastern conferences qualify for the post-season playoffs. The action begins with a best-of-seven elimination format, where two teams play each other a maximum of seven times. The first team to win four games moves on to the next round.
Another succession of games follows in the Conference Semifinals, before the victors compete in the regional Conference Finals. Finally, the winning teams from the Western and Eastern conferences compete in a best-of-seven final. As in previous rounds, the first to win four games is crowned NBA Champion.
The top NBA Playoff scorers of all time
Unfortunately for NBA players in the regular season, their exploits don’t mean much if they can’t repeat their form going into the playoffs. This is where the points really count, especially when the pressure is on to win. Here are a few of the top NBA Playoff scorers of all time – all genuine basketball legends in their own right:
- LeBron James (7,631): There are claims that Stephen Curry will win more championships than LeBron James. Whether or not that is true, you wouldn’t bank on anybody beating the NBA giant’s playoff points total. With 7,631 points and counting, he is by far the leader in the table. At the ripe old age of 37, James may not have too many more seasons in him. Regardless, he’s entrenched himself as one of the NBA’s all-time greats.
- Michael Jordan (5,987): Arguably the most iconic NBA player of all time, Michael Jordan’s 5,987 playoff points earn him second place in the all-time rankings. He played in 13 playoffs throughout his career, two less than LeBron James. The jury is out on whether Michael Jordan would have been able to match the points total had he played longer. Nevertheless, his is an exceptional achievement, especially in an age where sports science wasn’t anywhere near as advanced as today.
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: The oldest former player in the Top 10 of the all-time NBA Playoff top scorer rankings, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was an integral part of the Milwaukee Bucks team of 1971. Powering them to the NBA Finals, Abdul-Jabbar went on to score 5,762 playoff points in his long and fruitful career.
Future stars not to miss
It will take a seriously talented baller to beat any of the three legendary players mentioned above, but some of the top 15 players under 25 could have a shot. Serbian starlet Nikola Jović has been indispensable to the Denver Nuggets recently, scoring points from anywhere on the court. Elsewhere, keep an eye on the 22-year-old Trae Young.