Shaq Reaches the 28K Plateau
Since Shaquille O’Neal was drafted by the Orlando Magic with the top pick in the 1992 NBA draft he has been the most dominate player in the league. His arrival has caused a league scramble among teams to find the next Shaq (ironically its two of his former teams Magic and Lakers, who have come the closest). O’Neal has won award after award, and was instrumental in the Lakers and Heat championship runs. Now Shaq has reached another milestone in his illustrious career, 28,000 points.
O’Neal’s 28K rank him 5th all-time in NBA scoring* (just considering NBA, numbers and not ABA stats), though still 10,000 points shy of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (that is not going to be an easy record to break) for the number 1 spot. 2009-2010 seem like the year of points milestones for players. Kobe Bryant will reach the 25K mark (he’s got the best shot to break the top spot, but would have to play into his late 30’s), as will Allen Iverson. Ray Allen and Dirk Nowitzki have already crossed the 20K barrier this season, and Tim Duncan and Paul Pierce will soon be joining them. And LeBron James will reach the 15K level before season’s end (I’d say he has the best chance of getting the record, but its still 9-10 years away. That is an impressive group of Hall of Fame players all reaching milestones in the same season.
Though he may be in the twilight of his career Shaq still tops the list among active stars. His dominance and fear factor over the last 18 years has been as great as any player ever to suit up in the NBA. Even at the end of his career O’Neal’s presence is key for the Cavs title run this season. He might only score 1/3 of the points LeBron does each game, but his inside threat is crucial for the Cavs to win the championship this season.