LeBron James Makes History as First NBA Player to Score 40,000 Points

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LeBron James Makes History as First NBA Player to Score 40,000 Points

LeBron James became the first National Basketball Association (NBA) player to reach 40,000 career points, scoring on a driving layup in LA Lakers’ hom

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LeBron James became the first National Basketball Association (NBA) player to reach 40,000 career points, scoring on a driving layup in LA Lakers’ home game against the Denver Nuggets.

James became the NBA’s all-time scoring leader more than a year ago when he passed former Lakers star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in a home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on February 7, 2022. Abdul-Jabbar had 38,387 points over 20 seasons.

After James reached 40,000 points, he received multiple standing ovations from the Los Angeles crowd and the Lakers announced his achievement during a subsequent timeout. James, who finished with 26 points, four rebounds and nine assists to bring his career scoring tally to 40,017 points, acknowledged the crowd by holding the game ball above his head before a tribute video played on the jumbotron.

“I’m never thinking about a milestone when I’m out there battling,” James said. “When it happens, obviously we acknowledge it. Much respect and much loyalty to the Lakers fan base for showing me that love during the timeout.”

James entered Saturday’s game with a career average of 27.1 points per game over 1,474 contests in 21 NBA seasons.

Needing nine points to reach his latest milestone, the Akron, Ohio, native had five points on 2-of-3 shooting in the first quarter.

James cut to the basket for a layup to open the second quarter then reached the 40,000 mark when he drove past the Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr with a spin then made a left-handed layup with 10:39 remaining in the second quarter.

He called the historic effort “bittersweet” as it came in a losing cause. James finished with 26 points, but the Lakers lost to the Nuggets 124-114.

“Being the first player to do something, it’s pretty cool in this league ‘cause you just know the history, you know the grace that has come through the league,” James said after the game.

“But the main thing is always the main thing and that’s the win. And I hated that had to happen in a defeat, especially versus a team that plays extremely well.

“We played some good basketball but wasn’t able to close it out, so bittersweet, but I enjoyed every moment though, while on the floor.”

James, 39, boasts a career scoring average of 27.1 points and reached 40,000 points in his 1,475th regular season game. In a sign of his remarkable consistency, the 21-year veteran scored his first 10,000 points in the same number of games — 368 — as he needed to go from 30,000 points to 40,000.

In his first NBA game on Oct. 29, 2003, James scored 25 points. Since then, he has averaged 27.1 points per game over 21 seasons in the league.

The 20-time all-star, who also ranks fourth all-time in assists and eighth in steals, said that he “played the game the right way” and set the scoring record “organically,” rather than intentionally trying to unseat Abdul-Jabbar.

James left open the possibility that his scoring mark will one day be broken. He noted that Oscar Robertson’s record of 181 career triple-doubles was once deemed untouchable, but Russell Westbrook surpassed that mark while Jokic and Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks are also in hot pursuit.

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