DeMar DeRozan of the Bulls officially joins the 20,000 point club originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

DeMar DeRozan joined the history club on Friday night Chicago Bulls away game against the San Antonio Spurs.

With the first-quarter pull-up, DeRozan became the 50th player in NBA history to eclipse 20,000 career points (54th if ABA players are included):

DeRozan entered Friday’s game just seven points shy of the mark and prepared to overcome it against some old friends from the Spurs, who he played for in the three seasons between being traded to the Toronto Raptors in 2018 and signing with the Bulls. in 2021, and Gregg Popovich.

After Wednesday’s home win over the Pacers, DeRozan talked about the importance of crossing the 20,000-point threshold in San Antonio.

“I wanted to save it for Pop,” he joked after scoring 17 points that night. “Coming back to a place where I spent some time, from whom I learned so much, a place that embraced me was nothing but love. And it was definitely a learning curve for me in my career at a critical point in my career – and Pop really helped me a lot in my career. I think it will be cool to be able to do it there.”

Popovich said Friday: “(DeRozan) is a beautiful, wonderful person. One of the best I have ever coached. I still keep in touch with him. He’s just a lovely person.”

The Spurs coach even called a timeout after DeRozan’s historic goal to allow the moment to be celebrated.

DeRozan ranks 54th on the NBA/OB all-time scoring list, tied with Antown Jamison (20,042).

Nine current NBA players are in the 20,000-point club and lead DeRozan in career scoring: LeBron James (37,144), Carmelo Anthony (28,289), Kevin Durant (25,622), James Harden (23,584), Russell Westbrook ( 23,329), Chris Paul (20,975), LaMarcus Aldridge (20,558), Joe Johnson (20,407) and Stephen Curry (20,185).

“Just knowing the number of players that have played the game for 75 years, it’s crazy. Not many people even get to that point,” DeRozan said Wednesday. “Some of my favorite players that I watched didn’t even get to that point. It’s definitely crazy to be there.”

The accomplishment is as much a testament to DeRozan’s consistency and longevity as it is to his unnatural shooting ability. Since being drafted in 2009, DeRozan has played in more regular season games (962) than any player in the league and trails only James in total minutes.

And like many of the active player names listed above, DeRozan, 33, is far from done.

In 2021-22, his first with the Bulls, he averaged 2,118 points (also a career high), averaging 27.9 ppg. Entering Friday’s game, he had averaged 24.8 points in the Bulls’ first four games, including a season-opening 37 put him in company with Michael Jordan.

What kind of story will he make by the end of the season? Stay tuned to find out.