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

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has become the first player in NBA history to score 40,000 career points, accomplishing the milestone on Saturday during the team’s 124-114 loss at home against the Denver Nuggets.

The NBA’s all-time leading scorer notched the historic basket on a left-handed layup with 10:41 left in the second quarter, prompting loud cheers from the fans at Crypto.com Arena.

Both teams continued to play following the historic basket until the Lakers called a timeout over a minute later, leading to a standing ovation from the crowd for James and high-fives from teammates as he made his way to the bench. The Lakers played a video tribute for James to honor the milestone during the timeout.

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The 39-year-old has been in uncharted territory since surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 38,387 points to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer last season.

The four-time NBA champion entered the night nine points shy of the 40,000 mark.

“No one has ever done it. And for me to be in this position at this point in time in my career, I think it’s pretty cool,” James said on Thursday after the team’s victory against the Washington Wizards. “Does it sit like one of the top of my things I’ve done in my career? No. Does it mean something? Of course, absolutely. Why wouldn’t it?

career points

Adam Pantozzi/NBAE/Getty Images

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers scores his 40,000th career point during the game against the Denver Nuggets.

“Obviously, I’m never thinking about a milestone when I’m out there battling, but when it happens obviously we acknowledge it,” James said on reaching the milestone. “Being the first player to do something is pretty cool in this league, because you just know the history, you know the greats that have come through the league and then you see some of the greats on the floor tonight. It was just great to compete.

“But for me the main thing is always the main thing and that’s to win and I hate that, that had to happen in a defeat, especially versus a team that plays extremely well basketball and we played some good basketball tonight but weren’t able to close it out. Bittersweet, but I enjoyed every moment tonight on the floor.”

James finished the game with 26 points, for a career total of 40,017 points, and nine assists, while also extending his NBA-record double-digit scoring streak to 1,205 games, dating back to January 2007.

Lakers center Anthony Davis was asked if any player would ever surpass James’s scoring record, answering he didn’t think so.

“It’s just tough because he’s not finished playing, so it’s only going to increase and that gap is going to get bigger and bigger,” Davis said. “Every time he plays like it’s going to be a new milestone every time.”

“He went to eight straight Finals, which helps you play longer and longer in the postseason and you’re going to keep scoring and then for him to be the number one option on his teams … As of right now, I don’t see anybody breaking his record.”

“I’m just happy for him, It was a hell of an accomplishment,” Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said after the game. “Wish we could’ve got the win to cap it off. That didn’t happen, but you know my hat’s off to him.”

The Lakers sport a 33-29 record on the season and sit in 10th place in the Western Conference standings.

Playing in his 21st season, James is averaging 25.3 points, 7.9 assists and 7.1 rebounds per game this season, becoming the first player in league history to be named to 20 NBA All-Star teams. Earlier this season, James helped lead the Lakers to the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament championship title, while earning tournament MVP honors.

LeBron James does his chalk toss ritual before a game in 2008. Basketball players use chalk to help them grip the ball better.

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images

LeBron James does his chalk toss ritual before a game in 2008. Basketball players use chalk to help them grip the ball better.

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