To 40,000 and beyond! Scoring champ LeBron keeps adding more

All-time NBA scoring champion LeBron James has reached a new milestone.

James is now the first player in NBA history to score 40,000 career points. The Los Angeles Lakers All-Star officially crossed the threshold on Saturday night in their 124-114 loss to the Denver Nuggets at Arena.

James entered the game with 39,991 career points after he put up 31 points in their win over the Washington Wizards on Thursday. He scored his first bucket on Saturday on a fast break layup midway through the first quarter, and then he followed it up with a 3-pointer just minutes later. James then opened the second quarter by making a layup through a pair of Nuggets players.

Then, two possessions later, James made another layup after driving through Michael Porter Jr. to get to 40,000 career points.

James reached the threshold a little more than a year after setting the NBA’s all-time scoring record. On Feb. 8 of last season, James scored his 38,388th point to pass previous scoring champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He’s been steadily adding to his total since, putting the record further out of reach for future challengers.

“I mean, I can’t sit here and say no because, of course. No one has ever done it,” James said when asked if he cared about the 40,000-point mark on Thursday night. “And for me to be in this position and time in my career, I think it’s pretty cool. 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?”

James, 39, remains one of the game’s top scorers in his 21st NBA season. He entered Saturday ranked 15th in scoring this season with 25.3 points per game. Since averaging 20.9 points per game as a rookie in 2003-04, James has averaged at least 25 points in each of the following 20 NBA seasons. He was the league’s scoring champion in 2007-08 with 30 points per game and has exceeded that 30-point average twice in his career.

Just two games ago, James scored 19 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Lakers to rally from a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit in a 116-112 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. He led all scorers in that game with 34 points. James finished the game on Saturday with a team-high 26 points and nine assists while shooting 12-of-20 from the field.

As long as he remains healthy, James projects to continue to steadily add to his tally this season. The Lakers are fighting for a playoff spot as the 10th team in the Western Conference standings and will continue to lean heavily on James during the stretch run of the season. Whether he can keep them in the playoff race, or even pull them back into contention to avoid the play-in tournament, remains to be seen.

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