LeBron James becomes first player in NBA history to score 40,000 points


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA scoring record was once considered unbreakable, but it’s being shattered.

LeBron James surpassed the Hall of Famer last year to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

And, on Saturday, the four-time MVP became the first player in NBA history to score 40,000 points in a career.



LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during the first half of a game against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center Feb. 5, 2024, in Charlotte, N.C.

Entering the night, James needed just nine points to reach the mark. The last time James had scored fewer than 10 points was Jan. 5, 2007, so this was pretty much a lock.

He airballed his first shot but knocked down his next two to get to within four points. He took a seat with 3:19 to go in the first quarter, so fans had to wait a tad longer. James started the second quarter and promptly got a layup to put him one bucket shy.

He missed his first attempt at it — a deep three-pointer. But on the next possession, he pulled out a spin move in the paint for another layup, putting him at exactly 40,000.

James has lived up to the billing as “The Chosen One” from that famous 2002 Sports Illustrated piece written by the late Grant Wahl. His 40,000 points now top one of the greatest sports resumes ever.

He is in his 21st NBA season at age 39, yet he’s hardly shown signs of slowing down.

Entering Saturday night, James, who was selected to his NBA record 20th All-Star Game earlier this year, was averaging 25.3 points, 7.9 assists and 7.1 rebounds. He’s one of just four players this season with at least 50 games played to average at least 25-7-7, along with Nikola Jokić, Luka Dončić and Trae Young.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers smiles as he dribbles the ball against the Golden State Warriors in the first half at Chase Center Jan. 27, 2024, in San Francisco.

Of players who have played more than 100 games at age 35 and older, James’ 27.2 points per game are the most ever by a decent margin. Second is Michael Jordan, who averaged 22.5 in 171 games after turning 35. Saturday marked James’ 245th game since turning 35.

Including the playoffs, James played in his 1,757th game Saturday, 40 shy of Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time mark.

James has been vocal about his hopes to play with son Bronny, who is eligible for this year’s NBA Draft. There is also speculation LeBron wants to play with his younger son, Bryce, who some scouts say actually profiles better than his older brother. Bryce won’t be eligible to play in the NBA until 2026.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers in the first half at Crypto.com Arena Jan. 19, 2024, in Los Angeles.

Considering how LeBron continues to play, who’s to say he can’t play two more years?

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