Carmelo Anthony is now the ninth leading scorer in NBA history. The Los Angeles Lakers forward entered Sunday night’s game with the Memphis Grizzlies 14 points behind Moses Malone’s 27,409 career total, but had a stellar shooting night to close the gap. With a 3-pointer from the wing in the third quarter, Anthony officially tallied his 16th point of the night on only nine shots. That got him to 27,411 points for his NBA career.
Anthony finished Sunday’s game with 28 points, bumping his career total to 27,423.
It might not happen this season, but Anthony is within striking distance of eighth place, which is currently held by another Laker. Shaquille O’Neal scored 28,596 points in his NBA career, putting Anthony roughly 1,200 points behind him. Even if Anthony played every game for the rest of the season, he’d still need to average around 15 points per game to pass O’Neal. That is unlikely given his reserve role, so if Carmelo does crack the top eight, it will probably come next season or beyond.
That is probably as high as Anthony, now 37 years old, can climb. Wilt Chamberlain is in seventh place with 31,419 points. With so few years and minutes left in his career, Anthony almost certainly won’t score enough to catch him. Still, Anthony spent over a year out of basketball after being benched by the Houston Rockets. He almost retired far lower on this list than he’s ultimately going to end up.
But signing with the Portland Trail Blazers revitalized Anthony’s career, and now, he’s trying to win his first NBA championship as a member of the Lakers. If he has more games like tonight in him, he’ll have a good chance to do so. Even if he doesn’t, he’ll forever be remembered as one of the greatest scorers in NBA history.