LeBron James of the Lakers was the first to reach 40,000 career points

LOS ANGELES — LeBron James extended his career into uncharted territory and became the first player in NBA history to reach 40,000 career points Saturday night at Crypto.com Arena.

James needed nine points to reach this goal in the Los Angeles Lakers game against the Denver Nuggets. He got there with a driving layup at the 10:39 mark of the second quarter.

He finished with 26 points, bringing his career total to 40,017. The Lakers lost 124-114.

“Nobody's ever done that,” James said this week when asked about the total point. “And I think it's great to be in this position at this point in my career and at this point. Is it the top thing I've ever done in my career? No. But does it mean something? Sure, why wouldn't it?” To achieve things in this league with great players, it's been my dream, to achieve and achieve milestones. Career, they all mean something to me.

“Obviously, there's a pecking order to it [accomplishments] Higher than others, but I'd be lying to you if I said that doesn't mean anything. Because it absolutely does.”

James airballed his first shot of the night — a turnaround jumper over Denver's Aaron Gordon — and then quickly found his groove. Anthony Davis knocked an outlet pass to James as he sped up the floor, and the 21-year-old veteran finished the streak with a layup at the rim. Moments later, James took a corner 3-pointer that Nikola Jokic saved.

James finished the first quarter with five points, and the home crowd kept his countdown to 40,000 on the videoboard.

He opened the second quarter with an and-1 layup to bring his total to seven, but missed the free throw.

James missed a 3-pointer the next time down, and fans held up their phones to record possessions in anticipation of his record-setting hoop.

On L.A.'s next drive, James got the ball from beyond the 3-point line, used a spin move around Michael Porter Jr. and drained a left hander to give him nine points and 40,000 for the game. His profession.

During the timeout that followed, James was presented with the game ball and received a standing ovation from the crowd after playing a tribute video on the Lakers' Jumbotron.

James surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's career total of 38,387 points last season to overtake the heralded center's perch as the league's all-time scoring leader, a feat Abdul-Jabbar held for nearly 40 years.

“Whether it's making seven 3s or his down-court shots, you anticipate and expect these big things he's going to do. [the dotted half circle in the lane] Still at this point in his career,” Lakers coach Darwin Hamm said before Saturday's game. “We're not going to see this much longer, and we've got to appreciate him while he's here. … Appreciate what he gave to the game, what he continues to give to the game and his knowledge, his performance.

“I'm honored to coach him and to witness it firsthand.”

No other active player has even reached 30,000 career points. Phoenix Suns star Kevin Durant is the closest with 28,342 points, making him the league's No. Ranked 9th.

When asked if he was motivated to continue playing as the game's leading scorer, James said he never set out to achieve the feat.

“I never thought about having a scoring record,” James said. “It just happened naturally, I played the game the right way, I went out and played the game, let the game come to me, the scoring record came naturally to me. It was never my goal when I came into the league. I wanted to be the leading player all the time. But I'm still playing. I can still have the ball. can beat [his point total is] I'm going to go up until I'm done playing.”

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