Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki moved past Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson to become the 10th leading scorer in NBA history on Tuesday.
Nowitzki scored a game-high 21 points (on 9-for-11 shooting) as Dallas claimed a 95-83 road victory against Utah. That performance upped his career total to 26,714 points during his 16-year NBA career, surpassing Robertson's total of 26,710. The go-ahead basket came on a patented fading mid-range jumper early in the fourth quarter.
“Amazing, amazing. I mean top 10 is unreal,” Nowitzki said afterwards, according to NBA.com. “It’s been a crazy ride. Passing [Robertson] ... is unbelievable. It feels surreal still. All night I wasn’t really trying to think about it I was trying to concentrate on the next shot. I knew how many points I needed, but I wasn’t really trying to think about it. I was trying to think about the next shot and how I could get open.”
The German-born Nowitzki ranks second among international players in scoring, trailing Nigerian center Hakeem Olajuwon (ninth overall with 26,946 points). He also ranks second among active players in scoring, trailing Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (fourth overall with 31,700 points).
It's been a quick rise up the charts for Nowitzki this season, as he began the season with 25,051 points, which put him in 17th place. He should be up able to move to the No. 7 spot, currently occupied by Moses Malone (27,409 points), sometime next season.
Here's a look at the full top 10 all-time scorers list.
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar -- 38,387 points in 1,560 games
2. Karl Malone -- 36,928 points in 1,476 games
3. Michael Jordan -- 32,292 points in 1,072 games
4. Kobe Bryant -- 31,700 points in 1,245 games
5. Wilt Chamberlain -- 31,419 points in 1,045 games
6. Shaquille O'Neal -- 28,596 points in 1,207 games
7. Moses Malone -- 27,409 points in 1,329 games
8. Elvin Hayes -- 27,313 points in 1,303 games
9. Hakeem Olajuwon -- 26,946 points in 1,238 games
10. Dirk Nowitzki -- 26,714 points in 1,185 games
Nowitzki, 35, claimed a spot on the list thanks to excellent durability (playing at least 76 games each in 12 different seasons) and consistency (averaging at least 21 points in 13 different seasons). The 12-time All-Star has never led the NBA in scoring, but he did top out at 26.6 points per game in 2005-06, and he recorded a career-high 53 points in a Dec. 12, 2004, overtime victory over the Rockets.
There is no question that Nowitzki, the league's 2007 MVP, is on track to become a first ballot Hall of Fame selection. A 12-time All-NBA performer, Nowitzki won the 2011 Finals MVP as a member of a title-winning Dallas team that upset Miami.
Video via YouTube user NBA