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Kevin Durant climbing up NBA’s all-time scoring list, passes Shaquille O’Neal for eighth: ‘Well deserved’

LeBron James may be the active player that most frequently makes scoring-list history, but one of his contemporaries has done quite a bit of climbing up the all-time list this season. Kevin Durant started the season in 13th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring leaderboard, but over the past five months he’s passed legends Hakeem Olajuwon, Elvin Hayes, Moses Malone and Carmelo Anthony. On Wednesday, he had another Hall of Famer in his sights.

Durant entered Wednesday’s contest between the Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers with 28,588 regular-season points to his name. Shaquille O’Neal, the four-time NBA champion and current TNT analyst, sat eight points ahead of him at 28,596. In the third quarter, Durant passed O’Neal with this mid-range jumper to move into eighth-place on the all-time scoring chart.

The gracious O’Neal took some time ahead of the game to record a congratulatory video for Durant. “Kevin Durant, first of all I want to say congratulations for passing me to become eighth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list,” O’Neal said. “Well deserved. But you know it doesn’t stop here. I probably see you at, see if you can get to number one. Anyway I’m happy for you. Tell your lovely mother I said hello, and congratulations brother. Job well done. I knew it was gonna get done, if anybody was gonna pass me, I knew it was gonna be you.”

Durant, 35, has a long way to go if he plans to reach No. 1 as O’Neal suggested. With 28,610 points in his career thus far, he is more than 11,000 points behind LeBron James at 40,179. In fact, it’s probably going to be a little while before he reaches No. 7. Wilt Chamberlain, with 31,419 points, is nearly 3,000 points ahead of Durant now.

Still, Durant is having one of his healthier seasons in recent memory. If he can keep this up, there’s no reason to believe he won’t climb up the list over the next several years. James may be out of reach, but there’s a good chance he knocks Michael Jordan, with 32,292 points, out of the top five eventually.

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