LeBron James entered Thursday’s game against the Denver Nuggets needing just three baskets to pass Wilt Chamberlain (12,681) for third place on the NBA’s all-time field goals made list. It didn’t take James long to make history, hitting three field goals in the first quarter.
He officially passed Chamberlain on a driving layup in the first quarter en route to a 27-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist night in the Lakers’ 114-93 win. Not only did he pass Chamberlain but he also recorded his 96th career triple-double.
Below is a look at where LeBron stood in field goals made entering the game vs. Denver.
RANK PLAYER FGM FGA FG% GP FGM/G
1 Kareem Abdul Jabbar 15,837 28,307 55.9 1, 560 10.2
2 Karl Malone 13,528 26,210 51.6 1, 476 9.2
3 Wilt Chamberlain 12,681 23,497 54 1, 045 12.1
4 LeBron James 12,679 25,185 50.3 1, 287 9.9
5 Michael Jordan 12,192 24,537 49.7 1, 072 11.4
Both players peaked in field goals made in their third NBA season. Wilt made an NBA record 1,597 baskets that season (an astounding 20 FGM per game average), while LeBron made 875 field goals (a career-best average of 11.1 per game). Wilt has the top four individual seasons in terms of field goals made, and seven of the NBA’s 18 total seasons when a player made at least 1,000 baskets.
Players With At Least 1,000 FGM in a Single Season
Wilt Chamberlain (7x)
Michael Jordan (3x)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (2x)
Rick Barry (2x)
Tiny Archibald (1x)
Elgin Baylor (1x)
George Gervin (1x)
Bob McAdoo (1x)
While LeBron came nowhere close to matching Wilt’s volume of buckets early in their respective careers, there has been little variance in LeBron’s output season over season. Only in his rookie season did LeBron not average at least 9.0 field goals per game — a mark he is currently at in his 18th season.
Congrats to Lebron for this amazing achievement.