Thirty-thousand is a ton of points.
That much is obvious. And we all know it’s enough to put Dirk way up on the all-time scoring list (he’s number six) among some of the most legendary scorers of all time (Kareem, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant).
But to really understand what it means to score 30,000 points in the NBA and just how tough it is to climb that high in the rankings, we need to understand all the players below Dirk.
I pulled the official leader stats for all players going back to the 1946-47 season (when Harry S. Truman was in his second year in office) to see how they stacked up against our favorite Dallas Maverick. The result is a group of 3,864 players who have scored a cumulative 44.37 million points over the last 70 years.
It’s striking how steep the drop off is as the scoring milestones get larger. One in five NBA players (806 in total) have scored more than 5,000 points in their careers, but just 325 (around eight percent) have scored more than 10,000 and only 133 (a little over three percent) reached 15,000.
Just one percent of all players (41 people) have scored 20,000 points. And a minuscule 0.0015 percent of all NBA players have scored as many points as number six all-time scorer Dirk Nowitzki.
Rare air indeed.
Here’s a chart to help you visualize this:
That blue line is Dirk, sitting over 3,858 players who have scored a collective 44.17 million points.
EDIT: The original photo had accidentally put a few players with the same names together. This has been corrected as of March 10, 2017 12:40PM ET.