LeBron James becomes first NBA player to reach 40,000 points | Basketball News

The LA Lakers forward reached the milestone in his 21st season in the NBA, but termed it ‘bittersweet’ as it came in a loss against Denver Nuggets.

LeBron James has become the first 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.

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 is a four-time NBA champion and four-time NBA Most Valuable Player as well as the league’s oldest active player, now in his 21st campaign.

The 39-year-old has been on a scoring surge of late, with an average of 30.8 points over his previous four games. James entered the game averaging 25.3 points per game this season with 7.1 rebounds and 7.9 assists.

He scored the first points of his career as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers on October 29, 2003, against the Sacramento Kings. He reached 10,000 points in February 2008 and hit 20,000 points in January 2013. James made his 30,000th point in January 2018.

“Just happy for him. It was a hell of an accomplishment,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “Wish we could have got the win to cap it off. But my hat’s off to him. Amazing, amazing run that continues to this day.”

The crowd gave James a standing ovation during a timeout and the ball James used for the milestone hoop was removed from the game.

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