With a place in the basketball pantheon that is already well-assured, Kevin Durant continues to cross off new milestones and elevate himself into territories of the NBA’s most accomplished players.
With his 37 points against the Boston Celtics on Sunday afternoon, Durant became the 23rd player in NBA history to surpass 25,000 career points and in doing so joined Dirk Nowitzki as the only two players to ever compile 25,000 points, 5,000 rebounds, 1,000 steals, 1,000 blocks, and 1,000 3-pointers made.
“Kevin’s incredible,” said Nets head coach Steve Nash. “I could sit here for an hour talking about Kevin Durant and the ability, the sacrifices, the resilience, the passion for the game. That’s what you see out there. You see obviously someone who has gifts but someone who has worked to master and refine those gifts endlessly. He’s come back from some big injuries and continued to play at an equally high level every single time even well into his 30s here. That’s an impressive, impressive resume and it’s because of all the work on top of the gifts he has.”
In terms of total games played, Durant is the seventh-fastest player to 25,000 points in his 922nd game. Only Wilt Chamberlain (691), Michael Jordan (782), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (889), LeBron James (915), Oscar Robertson (917), and Jerry West (920) got there faster. He’s third in career total points among active players behind James (36,720) and Carmelo Anthony (28,120). Durant’s career scoring average of 27.1 is the highest among active players and fourth in NBA history.
Already this season, Durant surpassed Allen Iverson, Ray Allen, and Patrick Ewing on the all-time list. At his current scoring rate of 29.3 points per game, Durant would move past West (25,192) and Reggie Miller (25,279) by the end of the season, leaving him 21st all-time behind No. 20 Alex English (25,613) with former Nets Vince Carter (25,728) and Kevin Garnett (26,071) next to come.
“It's pretty cool,” said Durant. “I should be at 30 right now to be honest, but it's cool. It's cool to reach that milestone and be amongst the greats and I just got to keep pushing and keep going and see where I end up.”
Durant was in his second game back after missing 21 games due to a knee sprain. At the time, he was leading the league in scoring with 29.3 points per game. He returned with 31 points against the Heat on Thursday, leaving him 33 points away from the milestone going into Sunday’s afternoon game in Boston.
Durant scored 12 points in the first quarter, had 19 at halftime, and entered the fourth quarter with 28 points, just five shy of the milestone. With 6:08 remaining the game, he pulled up on the right wing just outside the lane and drained a historic 14-footer.
Afterwards, Kyrie Irving saluted his teammate’s accomplishment.
“I told him in the locker room, 25,000 points,” said Irving. “You’re a savant. You are an artist. You have eclipsed history and you will forever be remembered as a legend in our game. He’s been doing this since he was 19 and there’s a level of admiration that I have for my best friend right there. He just does it in ways that makes it look easy and even when he takes six weeks off it’s like he hasn’t missed any time and that level of work ethic that he puts in, it shows why he’s as great as he is.”