LeBron James first NBA player to score 40,000 points

LeBron James

LOS ANGELES — King James is now a member of the most exclusive club in NBA history.

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LeBron James became the first NBA player to top 40,000 career points on Saturday, scoring 26 in a 124-114 loss to the Denver Nuggets at Crypto.com Arena, the Los Angeles Times reported. The NBA’s all-time records only include regular-season games, according to The Washington Post.

James, 39, needed nine points entering Saturday’s game to reach the record., according to Basketball-Reference.com. He moved into the 40,000 club 1:21 into the second quarter on a spinning left-handed layup, the Times reported. In addition to his 26 points, James had nine assists and four rebounds.

“No one has ever done it,” James told reporters Thursday about the milestone, ESPN reported. “And for me to be in this position at this point and time in my career, I think it’s pretty cool. Does it sit at the top of the things I’ve done in my career? No. But does it mean something? Of course. Absolutely. Why wouldn’t it? To be able to accomplish things in this league, with the greatest players to ever play in this league, the NBA, this has been a dream of mine and to hit feats and have milestones throughout my career, they all mean something to me.”

James entered Saturday with a career average of 27.1 points per game and reached 40,000 points in his 1,475th regular-season game, The Washington Post reported. He scored the first 10,000 points of his career in 368 games, and needed the same number of contests to go from 30,000 to 40,000 points, according to the newspaper.

NBA and Lakers great Magic Johnson tweeted video of the milestone basket, saying he was “so glad I was here to witness such an incredible feat!”

The next time play was stopped, the Lakers honored James with a video tribute and presented him with the game ball, the Times reported.

The 21-year veteran became the NBA’s all-time career scoring leader on Feb. 7, 2023, when he broke Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 38,387 points during a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He reached 39,000 points on Nov. 21, 2023 in an In-Season Tournament game against the Utah Jazz, according to The Associated Press.

James is also the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring leader with 8,023 points, the Post reported. Michael Jordan is second at 5,987.

No other active player has 30,000 career points besides James, ESPN reported. Phoenix Suns star Kevin Durant is closest with 28,342 points, which puts him at No. 9 on the all-time list.

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