From Chamberlain to Baylor to Jordan, the guys who put the ball in the hoop the most are the ones lionized in the history books.For these players to be so successful, though, requires a number of contributing factors. While talent is obviously essential, what these stars put on their feet goes a long way towards determining whether an average season can become an historically great one. To see what drove the top scorers in league history to their absolute best, this is the Sneakers Worn for the 25 Highest Scoring Seasons in NBA History.

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No. 25 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee Bucks

Points per Game: 31.7
Shoe: Adidas Superstar

In winning the first of his six career MVP awards, Kareen Abdul-Jabbar posted one of the great all-around seasons in NBA history. Not only did he average 31.7 points per game, but he did so while shooting at a .577 clip and also chipping in 16.0 rebounds per game. This type of excellence was greatly helped by his Adidas Superstars. When Kareem was battling in the post—where he scored nearly all of his points—the rubber “shell” toes and leather upper kept the 7’ 2” center’s feet well protected against the aggressive double teams he faced on a nightly basis.

No. 24 - Tracy McGrady, Orlando Magic

Year: 2002-03
Points per Game: 32.1
Shoe: Adidas T-Mac II

Before knee injuries derailed his career, Tracy McGrady looked like he was going to be one of the greatest scorers in recent history. Not only did he win the 2002-03 NBA scoring title, but he did so while single-handedly carrying a team that prominently featured luminaries such as Pat Garrity and Andrew DeClercq. Fortunately for T-Mac, he was able to stay healthy and fresh thanks to his signature Adidas T-Mac II. The adiPRENE+ forefoot cushion and integrated 3D Torsion kept the Magic star’s feet well supported and his legs fresh as he averaged just under 40 minutes and 25 shots per game.

No. 23 - George Gervin, San Antonio Spurs

Year: 1981-82
Points per Game: 32.3
Shoe: Nike Blazer

The Ice Man was an absolute beast in 1981-82, shooting an even .500 from the field as the shooting guard exploited the frequent matchup problems his 6’ 7” frame created. Gervin’s incredible blend of a smooth jump shot and his trademark finger roll were bolstered by his Nike Blazers, which utilized a full leather upper to provide Gervin with the support he needed when making a quick cut on his way to the hoop. Considering he had 16 different 40-plus point games that season alone, it’s fair to say that the Blazers and the excellent traction provided by their rubber outsole allowed Gervin to be ready to get to the hoop at a moment’s notice.

No. 22 - Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls

Year: 1988-89
Points per Game: 32.5
Shoe: Nike Air Jordan IV

MJ was a model of stability during the 1988-89 season, starting and playing in 81 of 82 games while averaging just over 40 minutes per contest. He willed his team to the Eastern Conference finals by doing what he did best: scoring. His Air Jordan IVs were a pivotal part of that effort, keeping the star healthy and on the floor thanks to the side straps that kept his ankles on lock at all times. When he needed to finish at the rim, the Max Air in the heel gave the 25-year-old shooting guard added cushioning on both takeoff and landing.

No. 21 - Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls

Year: 1992-93
Points per Game: 32.6
Shoe: Nike Air Jordan VIII

It was another outstanding year for His Airness, as Jordan made use of the incredible cushioning provided by his Air Jordan VIII to help the Bulls complete the first of their two three-peats. The DURABACK materials used in the upper provided MJ with support and stability not previously seen in an Air Jordan, and in turn allowed him to attack the basket like never before. The Huarache inner sleeve kept his foot snug in the shoe as well, a key feature when considering that Jordan could frequently be found patrolling the paint on offense and defense as he averaged over six rebounds per game and recorded four triple-doubles.

No. 20 - Bernard King, New York Knicks

Year: 1984-85
Points per Game: 32.9
Shoe: Converse Fast Break

There was a time when many thought Bernard King was going to become the greatest player of his generation. A quick-footed small forward who could zoom to the rim in the blink of an eye, King had the perfect game for the Converse Fast Break. Converse catered their shoes for a player with King’s breakneck pace by constructing the upper partially of nylon, allowing the Knicks’ explosive forward to get out on the break well ahead of his opponents. Unfortunately for King, even his Fast Breaks couldn’t protect his ACL when he was injured in March of that season in a moment that brought an end to his speed-oriented game forever.

No. 19 - Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers

Year: 2005-06
Points per Game: 33.0
Shoe: Reebok Answer IX

Iverson was at his best in 2005-06, his final full season as a 76er. In averaging a league-high 43.1 minutes per game, AI put a ton of stress and strain on his legs; fortunately, he had on his Reebok Answer IXs to help ease the burden. The full leather upper kept the diminutive point guard’s feet protected on his signature reckless drives to the hoop, while the Pump 2.0 system locked in his heels and ensured that he would stay firmly grounded as he made his cut. Thanks in part to his shoes, Iverson enjoyed the highest single-season scoring average of his decorated career.

No. 18 - George Gervin, San Antonio Spurs

Year: 1979-80
Points per Game: 33.1
Shoe: Nike Blazer

Gervin carried a pretty average San Antonio team in 1979-80, leading the team in both points and minutes played on the season. The Spurs’ star wore his signature Nike Blazers for the occasion; for a man bearing so heavy a load for his team, he needed something on his feet that was built to last. The full leather upper of the Blazers was perfectly suited for that task, with the rubber outsole giving Gervin solid traction as he looked to create on offense and use his great length to bother fellow shooting guards on defense. That he put together the best points per game average of his career and also averaged 1.4 steals per game demonstrates just how effective Gervin and his Blazers were throughout the season.

No. 17 - Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia 76ers

Year: 1965-66
Points per Game: 33.5
Shoe: Converse All Star

It’s pretty amazing that the 1965-66 campaign was only an average year for Wilt, but that’s exactly what it was as the center put up just his seventh-highest single-season scoring totals. Playing his first full season back in Philadelphia, Chamberlain was his typically dominant self; unfortunately for his opponents, his Converse All Stars only made him better. The breathable canvas upper kept Wilt cool despite the immense pressure he faced from opposing defenses, ensuring that whether he was rebounding (he averaged 24.6 per game) or scoring, he was always ready to bounce right back up.

No. 16 - Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls

Year: 1989-90
Points per Game: 33.6
Shoe: Nike Air Jordan V

The 1989-90 season was probably Jordan’s best all-around year; in addition to winning the NBA scoring title, he also averaged seven rebounds and six assists per game. This versatile, complete game was greatly aided by his Air Jordan Vs, which thanks to the revamped outsole provided significantly better traction for the Bulls’ high-flying shooting guard. Considering that he needed to be able to shoot, rebound and thread passes through crowds, MJ needed a shoe that would ensure his feet were always in the right place; thanks to his Jordan Vs, they were.

No. 15 - Nate “Tiny” Archibald, Kansas City-Omaha Kings

Year: 1972-73
Points per Game: 34.0
Shoe: PRO-Keds Royal Master

Standing at 6’ 1” and playing at a listed weight of just 150 pounds, Nate Archibald certainly earned the nickname “Tiny.” There was nothing small about his contribution to the Kings, though, as the diminutive point guard utilized the snug fit of the suede upper on his PRO-Keds Royal Masters to win the NBA scoring title. Maneuvering through the sea of giants in the NBA can be treacherous for even the most confident of players, so the fact that Tiny was able to do it is a testament to the stability of his PRO-Keds and the traction their rubber outsole provided.

No. 14 - Elgin Baylor, Los Angeles Lakers

Year: 1962-63
Points per Game: 34.0
Shoe: Converse All Star Low

Playing in a career-high 80 games, Baylor was able to stay healthy and productive thanks in no small part to his low-cut Converse All Stars. The traction provided by the Chuck Taylors’ rubber outsoles allowed the Lakers’ dynamic forward to utilize his incredible slashing ability, a skill that was far ahead of its time and made him one of the most dangerous players in the league. By playing in a low-cut model, he sacrificed some ankle support for the freedom of movement that allowed him to create a number of easy shots for himself as he posted a .453 shooting percentage, the second best total of his career.

No. 13 - Bob McAdoo, Buffalo Braves

Year: 1974-75
Points per Game: 34.5
Shoe: Adidas Superstar

McAdoo was a player meant for the modern era of basketball. Standing at 6’ 9”, he nevertheless eschewed the traditional role of playing in the post with his back to the basket and instead traveled out to the perimeter where he became a dead-eye shooter. Aiding McAdoo were his Adidas Superstar shoes, whose low-cut leather upper gave the “stretch four” a unique blend of durability and flexibility that allowed him to score from anywhere on the floor. He utilized all aspects of the shoe, as he both scored and rebounded (14.1 per game in 1974-75) better than just about anyone in the league.

No. 12 - Wilt Chamberlain, San Francisco Warriors/Philadelphia 76ers

Year: 1964-65
Points per Game: 34.7
Shoe: Converse All Star

Wilt’s incredible 1964-65 season was played on two different sides of the country after he was traded mid-season, but that hardly seemed to matter as the monster center posted huge numbers across the board yet again. He once again donned his trademark Converse All Stars, and due to the traction provided by the rubber outsole and the snug fit of the canvas he had no problem muscling up inside against defenders. Wilt proved without a shadow of a doubt that no matter whether he was playing in the Eastern or Western Conference, he was going to dominate.

No. 11 - Elgin Baylor, Los Angeles Lakers

Year: 1960-61
Points per Game: 34.8
Shoe: Converse All Star Low

When the Lakers moved from the chilly shores of Minneapolis to the bright lights of Los Angeles, Baylor elevated his game and showed why many thought he could go down as one of the best to ever play the game. The key reason behind his success was the way in which he made use of the breathable, low-cut canvas uppers of his Converse All Stars, which allowed Baylor to get out and run, stretching the floor and creating open looks for his teammates. That year, he carried a pretty bad Lakers team all the way to the second round of the playoffs thanks to this ability, and he would get his team all the way to the finals soon thereafter.

No. 10 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee Bucks

Year: 1971-72
Points per Game: 34.8
Shoe: Adidas Jabbar

To do what Kareem did in 1971-72 is beyond extraordinary. Not only did he win the NBA scoring title, but he also chipped in a staggering 16.6 rebounds per game while averaging over 44 minutes per night. Not only does one need excellent conditioning and toughness to do that, but he also would need a strong pair of shoes. For Kareem, his signature Adidas Jabbar did just the trick. The full leather upper was able to withstand the punishment of the league’s big men down on the block, allowing Kareem to function at an incredibly high level throughout the year, supporting him despite the bumps and bruises he undoubtedly accumulated in playing 81 of 82 games that season.

No. 9 - Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls

Year: 1987-88
Points per Game: 35.0
Shoe: Nike Air Jordan III

The 24-year-old Jordan was fantastic in 1987-88, playing a career-high 40.4 minutes per game as he led his young Bulls team to the second round of the playoffs. Wearing his mid-cut Jordan IIIs throughout the season, MJ took advantage of the lighter weight of his sneakers to blaze a trail to the basket early and often. Because he depended more on his athleticism and dunking ability in these younger years, the air-sole unit in the heal was also a huge boon to Jordan’s game; when he threw down any of his highlight-reel jams, he knew he was in for a safe landing. Thanks to these shoes, Jordan managed to play in all 82 games.

No. 8 - Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

Year: 2005-06
Points per Game: 35.4
Shoe: Nike Zoom Kobe I

After signing with Nike prior to the 2005-06 season, Kobe proceeded to unleash one of the best offensive seasons of his illustrious career. Because of the high intensity and incredible volume of cuts and slashes that make up his game, Kobe needed a shoe that could provide him with the stability to make sure he got the most out of every possession. The molded TPU heel wrap and lateral outrigger provided the Lakers’ guard with all the protection he needed to change direction, and the multidirectional pattern on the outsole gave him the traction he needed to explode to the basket at a moment’s notice.

No. 7 - Rick Barry, San Francisco Warriors

Year: 1966-67
Points per Game: 35.6
Shoe: Converse All Star Low

Barry was an excellent scorer throughout much of the late 60s and early 70s in both the NBA and ABA. He was a phenomenal outside shooter who used his court savvy and lightning-quick release to score over 25 points per game eight times in a ten year stretch. The low-cut Converse All Stars were a perfect match for Barry, as the breathable canvas upper allowed him to quickly adjust to get in the right shooting spot. He was also a superb defender, a trait which his shoes brought out by allowing his feet to move freely as the small forward rotated around the perimeter thanks to the traction of the rubber outsole.

No. 6 - Wilt Chamberlain, San Francisco Warriors

Year: 1963-64
Points per Game: 36.9
Shoe: Converse All Star

Wilt posted another dominant season in 1963-64, but ultimately fell short yet again to the Boston Celtics in the finals. Failing to win a championship, while certainly a disappointment, was by no means Wilt’s fault; relying upon the stability of the high-top canvas upper of his Converse All Stars, the Warriors’ center was yet again a beast in the paint as he created numerous easy baskets for himself by fighting off opponents who would repeatedly hack him. It seems that was the only way to prevent him from scoring.

No. 5 - Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls

Year: 1986-87
Points per Game: 37.1
Shoe: Nike Air Jordan II

Michael Jordan’s third year in the league proved to be his biggest individual scoring output, as the 23-year-old put up huge offensive numbers thanks to his Nike Air Jordan IIs. The athletic young two-guard used the soft foam midsole to help fuel his slashing drives to the hoop, showing off a brand of athleticism that would become his trademark for years to come. Fortunately for Jordan, who played in all 82 games and averaged over 40 minutes a night, the upper of the Jordan IIs was made of soft Italian leather, ensuring that the rising star’s feet were always comfortable on the court.

No. 4 - Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia Warriors

Year: 1959-60
Points per Game: 37.6
Shoe: Converse All Star

What made Wilt’s 1959-60 campaign so remarkable was that he was able to enter the league straight out of college and instantly join the pantheon of all-time great scorers. His Converse All Stars were a huge part of making his transition an easy one; even though the rookies are usually the ones taking the most abuse, Wilt was able to weather the punishment thanks to the durable canvas upper of his shoes. While he may have been catching stray elbows underneath when he played with his back to the hoop, the rubber outsole ensured that he’d have the traction and precise footwork necessary to dodge the most serious foul attempts.

No. 3 - Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia Warriors

Year: 1960-61
Points Per Game: 38.4
Shoe: Converse All Star

The 1960-61 Warriors were incredibly reliant on their second year center, as Wilt was forced to play over 10 minutes more per game than the next highest volume player on their team. Despite this heavy workload, Chamberlain was up to the task thanks in part to his Converse All Stars. While all the minutes may have taken their toll mentally, physically the high-top canvas upper kept Wilt’s legs in top shape as he played in all 79 of the team’s games, averaging an astounding 47.8 minutes a night.

No. 2 - Wilt Chamberlain, San Francisco Warriors

Year: 1962-63
Points per Game: 44.8
Shoe: Converse All Star

While it’s safe to say that the Warriors’ first season in San Francisco was not a successful one (they went 31-49 and missed the playoffs), it surely had nothing to do with their franchise center. Not only did Wilt record the second-highest scoring average for a season in NBA history, but he also led the league in rebounding, field goal percentage and minutes played. With a particularly poor supporting cast, the onus was put on Wilt to carry his team; he was able to do so thanks to his Converse All Stars, whose molded rubber outsoles kept him grounded even as other teams keyed in on him defensively.

No. 1 - Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia Warriors

Year: 1961-62
Points per Game: 50.4
Shoe: Converse All Star

A player scoring 50 points in one game is an incredibly rare feat in modern basketball. In a season that will never again be approached, Wilt managed to make 50 an average number as he used his Converse All Stars to fuel his historic, season-long scoring barrage. Capped off by a 100-point explosion one night in March, Wilt utilized the breathable canvas upper to maintain his cool even though he was touching to ball on pretty much every single possession, averaging a ridiculous 39.5 field goal attempts per game. For all his scoring heroics, though, Wilt could not guide his team past the Celtics in the playoffs, tallying just 22 points in the deciding Game 7.

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