Any time you can pass both Larry Bird and Gary Payton in the record books, you've accomplished something significant.
New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony passed both on the NBA's all-time scoring list this week, including Payton in Saturday's loss to the Hornets. Anthony now ranks 30th all time with 21,818 career points.
Payton never scored at anything close to Anthony's rate but had a long, prosperous 17-season career in which he could score and pass (in 1999-2000, he became the only player to lead the NBA in 3-pointers and assists in the same season). It took Payton until his 16th season to win a championship, which he did with the Miami Heat in 2005-06.
Bird won three titles and is considered one of the game's all-time greats. He and Anthony scored points at a comparable rate. Bird averaged 24.3 points in about 38 minutes per game, over 897 games. Anthony is averaging 25 points in about 36 minutes per game, over 872 games. But Bird's points helped his team to three championships. Anthony hasn't won one yet.
Anthony probably will pass one more player on the scoring list this season and it's another legend of the 1980s and 1990s, Clyde Drexler (22,195). At Anthony's current pace, he's about 18 games away from catching Drexler.