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LeBron James Makes History, Becomes First NBA Player With 40,000 Career Regular-Season Points

In a historic feat, LeBron James became the first NBA player to reach 40,000 career regular season points during Saturday’s game against the Denver Nuggets.

Despite the milestone, James described the achievement as “bittersweet” after his Los Angeles Lakers succumbed to a 124-114 defeat against the defending NBA champions.

The 39-year-old NBA legend, who scored 26 points on the night, made history with a driving lay-up from the left side of the basket, giving the Lakers a 37-32 lead with 10 minutes and 39 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

The crowd honoured James with a standing ovation during a timeout, and the commemorative ball was removed from the game.

Reflecting on the moment, James acknowledged the significance of being the first player to achieve such a milestone. “Being the first player to do something, it’s pretty cool in this league. You just know the history, you know the greats that have come through,” he said.

However, the celebration was tempered by the Lakers’ defeat, extending the Nuggets’ winning streak to six games. Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 35 points.

“The main thing is always the main thing, and that’s the win,” James commented. “And I hated that had to happen in a defeat, especially versus a team that plays extremely well. We played some good basketball but weren’t able to close it out, so [it’s] bittersweet, but I enjoyed every moment on the floor.”

This accomplishment follows James becoming the NBA’s all-time leading scorer in February 2023, surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s long standing record of 38,387 points.

A four-time NBA champion and four-time Most Valuable Player, James is currently in his 21st campaign and holds the title of the league’s oldest active player.

When asked about the possibility of another player reaching the 40,000-point milestone, James emphasized the challenges, stating, “You have to play the game quite a while and have some good luck with injuries and things of that nature. You have to take care of your body. You have to be present on the floor and then you have to be productive as well.”

Lakers coach Darvin Ham praised James, calling the accomplishment a “hell of an accomplishment”, but wished that his team scored a victory to cap off the historic moment.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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