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Kevin Durant moves past Shaquille O'Neal for No. 8 on NBA's all-time scoring list

This season alone, Kevin Durant has passed Hakeem Olajuwon, Elvin Hayes, Moses Malone, Carmelo Anthony and Shaquille O'Neal.

Kevin Durant knocks down a smooth 16-foot jumper to pass Shaquille O'Neal on the NBA's career scoring list

Phoenix Suns star Kevin Durant continues to climb the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

Durant hit a midrange jumper with 10:22 left in the third quarter Wednesday night at Footprint Center to pass Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal for eighth place on the all-time list.

“Just grateful to be in the category with some of the greatest,” Durant said in a postgame news conference. “We all know what Shaq meant to the game of basketball. To be up there with him is a major, major honor.”

The 14-time All-Star entered the night needing nine points to eclipse O’Neal’s 28,596. He tied O’Neal with eight points in the first half and finshed with 22 in the Suns’ 115-102 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, bringing his career total to 28,610.

Durant now sits behind the following NBA legends: LeBron James (40,179), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928), Kobe Bryant (33,643). Michael Jordan (32,292), Dirk Nowitzki (31,560) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419).

A video from Shaq congratulating Durant on the accomplishment played on the video board at Footprint Center and the Suns’ TV broadcast:

It’s the latest move in a steady climb up the ranks for Durant.

  • 2022-23 season: Durant ranked 21st all-time when he began the season in Brooklyn. By the time he ended the season in Phoenix, he had passed Alex English, Vince Carter, Kevin Garnett, John Havlicek, Paul Pierce, Tim Duncan, Dominique Wilkins and Oscar Robertson to reach 13th place
  • 2023-24 season: Durant’s first full season with the Suns has seen him pass Hakeem Olajuwon, Elvin Hayes, Moses Malone, Carmelo Anthony and O’Neal.

As incredible as Durant’s ascent up the career scoring list has been to watch, it does not come as a surprise. Durant has been getting buckets since he stepped on an NBA court in Seattle at 19 years old.

Durant averaged 20.3 ppg in 2007-08 on his way to winning Rookie of the Year honors. Much like all-time leading scorer LeBron James, that is the only season in which Durant averaged fewer than 25 ppg.

He has four scoring titles in his career, but consistency is the key to Durant’s success.

The only thing that ever slowed Durant’s climb were injuries. His scoring average not only didn’t fall off, but it’s returned close to his peak levels over the past three seasons — all following an Achilles tear.

Durant’s scoring resume is a lot like that shot chart above … stacked.

  • 9,817 field goals made (17th all-time)
  • 1,997 3-pointers made (16th all-time)
  • 6,957 free throws made (10th all-time)

What makes Durant special as a scorer is that he isn’t a specialist. He doesn’t dominate one phase of scoring:

  • 16 players have made more buckets
  • 15 players have made more 3s
  • Nine players have made more free throws

Instead, his combination in all aspects of scoring is what makes him stand out.

Durant can beat opponents off the dribble and finish at the basket (3,059 FGM in the restricted area), he can pull up inside the paint (1,526 FGM outside the restricted area) and he’s a master in the midrange (3,228 FGM – the most of any zone on the court).

As a career 38.7% 3-point shooter, opponents must respect the deep ball, which puts defenders in a bind. Play him tight to take away the 3 and he’ll get past you and dissect the defense from inside the arc. Play off of him and watch him rain 3s.

A true three-level scorer, Durant’s ability to get buckets from any spot on the court has him climbing the record books

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This article was pulled from our Starting 5 Newsletter, a daily look at all things NBA. To get the newsletter in your inbox every morning, subscribe here.