Top ten lists have been a staple of conversation on almost any subject. Being amongst the handful of the best at anything you do is usually applauded. When it comes to sports we usually use top ten statistical lists to argue a player’s hypothetical placement in each league’s history.
The NBA might be the richest team sport when it comes to individual praise. There have been numerous players that looked magical with a basketball in their hands and not all of them get the praise they deserve. Most of the time that sentiment is joined at the hip with wins and losses, but that usually only tells part of the story.
Take Portland Trail Blazers’ forward Carmelo Anthony as a prime example. His last four seasons have been turbulent to say the least, but his overall career put him in position to join a very exclusive club this season.
In a game versus the Atlanta Hawks, Anthony would take a couple of dribbles, create a bit of room, and drain a three right in Danilo Gallinari’s face. The long range bomb put Anthony in sole possession of tenth place on the NBA’s all time scoring list, moving past Elvin Hayes (27, 313 points).
After the game Anthony reflected on his journey to this point. “A couple years ago I ain’t think I was gonna be in this moment, I was out the league for whatever reason. I’m back. I persevered. I stayed strong. I stayed true to myself and now I’m here in the Top 10.”
Since he was a rookie, Anthony has shown a particular knack for putting the ball in the basket. After falling into the Denver Nuggets’ lap on draft night 2003, Anthony began his scoring barrage. The 13,970 points he scored for the Nuggets ranks him third in franchise history.
Anthony is one of seven players to score over 10,000 points in a New York Knicks uniform. His 24.7 points per game average while playing in New York was the third highest average in franchise history.
The ten time all-star averaged 20 or more points for the first 15 years of his career playing in New York and Denver. He’s averaged 25 or more points in nine different seasons. Anthony led the league in scoring (28.7 points per game) during the 2012-13 season, finishing third in MVP voting.
Anthony hasn’t only dazzled the NBA floor during his professional career. He’s scored 130 points in eight games for the men’s USA basketball team. His 37 points versus Nigeria is the most in USA basketball history, a feat he accomplished in only 14 minutes of action.
Now Anthony sits on the short list of the most feared scorers in NBA history. Up next on the all-time list is Moses Malone (27.409 points scored). Anthony is 73 points away from passing him for ninth place with four more games to play this season.
Anthony has been masterful on the court, scoring the ball with an array of moves. Whether on the perimeter or in the post, there’s not many defenders that could stifle him, much less downright stop him. When it comes to isolation basketball there’s not many players you would take ahead of him.
That list of players is slowly dwindling.