LeBron James, already the NBA’s all-time scoring leader, reached an unprecedented milestone on Tuesday night, becoming the sole player in NBA history to amass an astounding 39,000 career points.
In a display of sheer brilliance, James achieved this monumental feat with a breathtaking 3-pointer during the first quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers’ commanding 131-99 victory over the Utah Jazz. Wrapping up the game with 17 points in just 24 minutes, James capped off the Lakers’ flawless run through Group Play in the NBA In-Season Tournament.
Post-game, an elated James shared his thoughts on the achievement, stating, “I got congratulated by my teammates and coaches, (but) I haven’t had an opportunity to really wrap my head around what that means.” He acknowledged the rich history of legendary players in the league and expressed the significance of being the first to reach such a remarkable milestone. “To be able to accomplish something that’s the first of anything, I think that’s always pretty cool. It’s a wild moment, that’s for sure.”
In his remarkable 21st season, James continues to showcase his prowess, maintaining an impressive average of 26.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 6.5 assists. With his current trajectory and assuming continued good health, James is on track to reach the 40,000-point mark later this season.
Joining an elite group in NBA history, James stands among only seven players who have surpassed the 30,000-point mark. This exclusive club includes basketball legends such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Dirk Nowitzki, and Wilt Chamberlain. Notably, five of these legends, including James, have donned the iconic purple and gold of the Lakers at some point in their illustrious careers.
Looking ahead, the spotlight turns to Phoenix Suns star Kevin Durant, the next active player with the potential to enter the 30,000-point club. Durant recently surpassed Elvin Hayes, securing the 11th spot on the all-time scoring list with 27,331 points. Needing 2,669 more points to hit the 30,000-point milestone, Durant is poised to make history.
Following Durant, LA Clippers guards James Harden and Russell Westbrook emerge as the next active players with a shot at the coveted 30,000-point mark. Harden, with 24,805 career points, and Westbrook, with 24,615, are on track to etch their names alongside the NBA’s scoring greats.
(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)