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

Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

LOS ANGELES — LeBron James had scored more points than anyone in NBA history before Saturday’s game with Denver, but a major statistical milestone provided another chance to reflect on his longevity — a left-handed layup against the Nuggets in the second quarter giving him 40,000 career points.

James entered the game needing nine points to reach the milestone.

“No one has ever done it. And for me to be in this position at this point and time in my career, I think it’s pretty cool,” James said Thursday. “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. Absolutely.

“Obviously there’s a pecking order of which ones are higher than others, but absolutely. I would be lying to you if I said it doesn’t mean anything. Because it absolutely does.”

Before Saturday’s game, Lakers coach Darvin Ham said the milestone is another chance for fans to pause debates and focus on a singular achievement.


“You just come to assume and expect that these great things that he’s doing, whether it’s making seven threes or his downhill attacks, taking off from the dots still at this point in time in his career. But just hopefully at some point it sinks in that we’re not gonna see this for a lot longer,” Ham said. “And (you) have to appreciate him while he’s here. And all the comparisons to players that have played before him or players that are currently playing as he’s playing right now in the current moment. Just appreciate him for what he’s given to the game, what he continues to give to the game.”

Denver coach Michael Malone, who was an assistant for the Knicks during James’ rookie season and coached him in Cleveland, said 40,000 is more than just a round number.

“You just have to marvel at the continued greatness, you know what I mean? There are so many stories of guys coming out of high school who have all this hype, all the hype, he’s the next so and so. And they never pan out,” Malone said Saturday. “And if you really go way back, for LeBron James to come out of St. Vincent-St. Mary in Akron, Ohio. He’s just passed every test along the way. It’s really incredible. How he’s handled the fame at such an early age, the spotlight. To do what he’s doing at this stage of his career — and it doesn’t appear like he’s slowing down at all, which is even scarier. When you take a step back, you have to marvel at the longevity.”

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