Nothing But Net: the Highest Scoring Basketball Players of the 20th Century

Many love the game of basketball and it’s complexities, but the highest scoring NBA players are always favorites to watch out for during a game because all everybody cares about is seeing the ball go in the hoop.

There are few things in sports more entertaining than a dominant scorer in basketball. When talking about the greatest players of all time, few mention the most staunch defenders or the savviest assist men, because it always comes down to the guys who can light up the scoreboard.

Here are the Top 5 highest scoring NBA players of the 20th century:

5.) Bob Pettit

Bob Petit playing for the Hawks - He was one of the highest scoring NBA players who played in the forward position


26.36 PPG

If you have no idea who Bob Pettit is, it’s probably because he played for the Hawks from 1954 to 1965. But Pettit averaged an impressive 26.36 points per game for his career and is still the only player in NBA history to average more than 20 points per game in every single season he played.

No wonder he is one of the highest scoring NBA players in history.

Born on the 12th of December 1932. Petit career spanned over 11 years from the year 1954-1965 all with Milwaukee/St Louis Hawks.

In his early years, he was kicked out of the varsity team by his coaches but was spurred on by his father Bob so he worked on his basketball skills and was soon back in the team.

Nobody thought he was talented enough to become a professional NBA player due to his 200 pounds small build standing at 6’9″ which many scouts believed was not big enough to withstand the struggles of the NBA.

Somehow he managed to make it and when the Hawks signed him in the first round draft of 1954, Pettit was signed for a then record fee for a rookie. Pettit was able to prove critics wrong by winning the leagues award for Rookie of the Year and averaging 20.4 ppg and 13.8 rpg.

That season, he also got the opportunity to play in his first All-star game and earned the first of 10 consecutive selections to the All-NBA First Team.

Due to his lack of strength, he soon experienced a positional shift from center to forward. An instinctive scorer with incredible rebounds Bob was soon recognized as one of the greatest forwards of all time. In his career, Pettit scored 20,880 points which is an average of 26.4 points per game. He also made a total of 12,851 rebounds which were all records at the time of his retirement in 1965 and he never finished below seventh in the NBA scoring race. Pettit was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Everyone looks at Dominique Wilkins as the greatest player in Hawks history, but Pettit trumps his career scoring average by almost two points and also played his entire career with the franchise.