DETROIT — Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony became the 21st player in NBA history to reach 25,000 points in Saturday’s 121-108 win over the Detroit Pistons. He is one of three active players who have reached the mark.
Anthony entered Saturday against the Pistons needing 17 points to reach 25,000. After making two free throws with 8:30 left in the third quarter, he hit and passed the mark to join Dirk Nowitzki and LeBron James as current players with at least that many career points. Anthony became the 25th player in the NBA and ABA combined to reach the milestone.
“It’s a special moment. Just to be a part of a class like that … I never dreamt of having 25,000 points,” said Anthony.
James congratulated his friend on joining the 25,000-point club.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 27, 2018
“You look at 25,000 points — that’s a lot of points. And doing it on a nightly basis like he’s done is really remarkable,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said before Saturday’s game. “He’ll go down as one of the greatest scorers this game has known, and I think the other part of it, too, is his willingness to be that kind of scorer for a good portion of his career and step into a team and in some ways adjust and change to provide our team what it needs, and he’s been a consummate professional and really good about that. So I hope, you know, and again I know maybe it hasn’t received a lot of attention, but it should because of what he’s done in the game of basketball.”
Of the retired players ahead of him on the all-time scoring list, only Tim Duncan and Paul Pierce are not in the Hall of Fame, mostly because they are not yet eligible for enshrinement.
Anthony, who was taken with the No. 3 pick in the 2003 draft by Denver, has played for the Nuggets, New York Knicks and Thunder during his career. He has scored 13,970 points for the Nuggets, 10,186 points for the Knicks and 845 for Oklahoma City this season when he hit 25,000.
The 33-year-old reached the milestone against the Pistons, the team that passed on him with the No. 2 pick in the 2003 draft in favor of Darko Milicic after James went No. 1 to Cleveland.
Anthony has averaged at least 20 points per game every season of his career except for 2017-18. He entered Saturday averaging 17.6 points, behind Russell Westbrook and Paul George. Anthony is also averaging the fewest minutes, field goals made and field goal attempts of his career.