LeBron James celebrates after scoring his 40,000 point

The Legend of LeBron James Continues 

LeBron James has defined history again as the first player to reach 40,000 points.

The height planes fly in the sky, the weight of two African elephants, and if you live until you’re 110, the number of days you’ll have in your life...forty thousand—and the number of points LeBron James has scored in the NBA.  

...40,017 to be exact. 

It was 11 years ago on January 16, 2013, when LeBron passed Kobe Bryant as the youngest player to reach 20,000 points. And now in his 21st year, the King of Scoring is the only player in the history of the league to more than double that number. 

“To be able to accomplish things with the greatest players who have ever played in this league, the NBA, has been a dream of mine. To hit feats and have milestones throughout my career, they all mean something to me,” LeBron said of his achievement. 

At 39 years old, James’ career points are more than all of his Lakers teammates’ combined. In 21 seasons, he’s scored 12,291 two-pointers, 8,296 free throws, and 2,381 three-pointers.  

While his first 20,000 points included 1,273 dunks and 1,136 three-pointers. His second 20,000 has had 898 dunks and 1,145 three-pointers. As the years have passed, LeBron has had more chances from three than throwing one down at the rim like he had done in the first half of his career. His shooting has evolved with the league’s standards. 

LeBron played for Cleveland, Miami, and is in his sixth season in Los Angeles, but outside the cities he’s called home, LBJ has scored most of his 40,000 points in Chicago with 996 points in 34 games. The Bulls were the Cavaliers’ divisional opponent, Bron played in Chi-town twice a year for eleven years.  

The second city that got to see the best of LeBron’s scoring was Orlando with 893 points in 33 games. Not only were the Magic a divisional opponent of LeBron’s during his four seasons in Miami, but a small portion of his points in this city came from the non-playoff games in the Bubble before the Lakers notched their seventeenth title in the 2020 NBA Championship. 

But tonight’s points were at home in Los Angeles. LeBron’s final nine points to 40K came in the Lakers matchup against the Denver Nuggets, on the same day Wilt Chamberlain made NBA history with his 100-point game 62 years ago.  

James didn’t look overzealous offensively, he stayed with his usual plan—he let the game come to him. His first two points came off a bounce pass from Rui Hachimura at 6:20 in the first quarter. He drove swiftly through the lane and put in a right-handed layup, giving the Lakers an 18-12 lead over the defending champs. Bron’s following points were off a smooth triple at 5:15, pushing the lead to 23-14.  

His sixth and seventh points were the results of a floater at the start of the second, and the points to deem LeBron the King of 40K? A lefthanded layup about a minute later. The crowd stood but LeBron and the Lakers didn’t flinch, they kept playing, kept maintaining their lead over the Nuggets.  

More than a minute later, at 9:16, Head Coach Darvin Ham called a timeout. It was then LeBron finally let himself crack a smile. The arena rose to their feet again. James pointed to the crowd, he waved to his family, he pointed to the sky, and then he got back to business. Because that’s what legends do.  

While the Lakers were unable to secure a victory over Denver, King James finished his historic night with 26 points, nine assists, four rebounds, and three steals. And he brought the crowd to their feet several times.   

“You’re only going to get out of the game as much as you put into it,” LeBron explained. “...For me, I wanted to be great, and you can’t be great if you don’t punch your clock in. ... I think that’s the most important thing I can give to the younger generations: Just put the work in.”