The Best Individual Records of All Time

This was greatly helped by the amazing “Leaderboard” over at Basketball-Reference

With Kobe recently joining the ranks of the elite with 30,000 points, I thought it would be fun to do a quick rundown of all the basic individual stats record holders in the NBA. I chose the top 5 in each category. I’ve listed them in order of how much of a “lead” the top spot spot has over the 2nd place finisher.

A sad note for stat lovers is that blocks, steals and distinct rebounds were not recorded for individual players until 1974. I feel compelled to say that Bill Russell and Elvin Hayes, who appear on none of these lists would have certainly been on one of the two rebounding lists. With that said, enjoy!

Offensive Rebounds: Moses Malone

What makes this even more remarkable is Moses Malone spent over 100 games to start his career in the ABA and racked up over 600 offensive rebounds there and lead the league in offensive rebounds as a rookie out of high school! If we’re going to look at arguably the most impressive “basic” stat career number, this is it. Two more interesting notes. Buck Williams manages to be our first player not to make the hall of fame and Dennis Rodman our first player to crack one of these lists with fewer than 1000 games played.

Assists: John Stockton

The list with the highest number of active players on it! Will Nash get the same fanfare if he cracks the 10,000 assists club as Kobe did with his 30,000 points club? Mark Jackson joins Buck Williams as being snubbed by the Hall. Stockton shows off just how impressive his record is. While Kidd is still active, he has no hope of taking the top spot. Magic Johnson joins Dennis Rodman as an all-timer that didn’t need 1000 games to join the club.

Steals: John Stockton

This list starts of similarly to the last. Kidd has no hope of catching Stockton, but is still damned impressive. Maurice Cheeks joins our list of snubbed players from the Hall of Fame. While he’s not there yet, I’m pretty certain Payton will be in the hall as soon as he’s eligible.

Blocks: Hakeem Olajuwon

Any surprise with Hakeem leading this list? Mark Eaton gets on the list of players both not in the hall and with less than 1000 games. While Basketball-Reference’s algorithm for Hall of Fame probability has Dikembe low. I say if he’s not admitted when his time comes around, I will be very upset.

Defensive Rebounds: Karl Malone

Finally a list of all Hall of Famers (and all over 1000 games) And yes, I know KG is still active, but if he’s not a lock for the hall, I don’t know who is.

Points: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Our final list. Another lock for all hall players (again, Kobe’s going first ballot, we all know it.) Wilt, despite the lack of statistical tracking, manages to crack one of our lists, despite playing before 1970! This list gets more boring as all the players are considered all time greats and all played over 1000 games. Of course, we know points are respected in the stats world.

Summing Up

It is impressive to see these all time greats in perspective. A last fun note, the following players made multiple lists:

  • Moses Malone,
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,
  • Robert Parish,
  • Hakeem Olajuwon
  • Michael Jordan,
  • John Stockton,
  • Karl Malone,
  • Jason Kidd

Now let’s see if Steve Nash can crack 10,000 assists or Jason Kidd can topple any of John Stockton’s records!


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