Did LeBron set an unbreakable record?

LOS ANGELES – Now that LeBron James has eclipsed the mark of 40,000 points in a storied NBA career, who’s going to catch him? Probably no one.

For the foreseeable future, the only possible prospects that might come close are Kevin Durant of the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors sharpshooter Steph Curry, and or Los Angeles Clippers stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James sits and fields questions from the media during a postgame press conference after the Denver Nuggets upended the purple and gold by the score of 124-114 at Crypro.com Arena on March 2, 2024. Photo credit: Dennis J. Freeman/The Bulletin

Durant is No. 9 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list and at least 11,000 points behind James. Harden is No. 21 on the all-time scoring list and has played in 400-plus fewer games than James has. And as great as he is, Curry sits at No. 31 and has played in fewer games (939 and counting) during his NBA career than Harden.

The remarkable thing about James hitting the 40,000 points plateau is that he is still playing at a very high level and could push the all-time scoring mark into oblivion. The one thing to consider is that for anyone to sniff the mark that James has set, they have to be on the floor. That means being healthy.

Outside of that, this record is unbreakable. James is now the NBA’s version of Mount Rushmore. James needed nine points against the defending champs, the Denver Nuggets to become the first NBA player to reach 40,000 points in a career. 

“It’s amazing,” Denver guard Jamal Murray said after the Nuggets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 124-114 in a game played at Crypto.com Arena. “Obviously, [he’s] the first person to do that. I think the biggest thing for his career is durability and consistency, the way he’s been able to keep up the level of performance throughout the years.”

James hit the magic mark in the second quarter with a spectacular layup over Denver forward Michael Porter Jr. James received thunderous applause from the Crypto.com Arena crowd after his bucket, but after guard D’Angelo Russell connected on a long jumper that caused the Nuggets to call a timeout, that’s when James felt the vibe of his achievement.

“To be the first player to do something is pretty cool in this league,” James said during a postgame press conference.  

During his pregame press conference, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham was asked if he could fathom any player hitting the 40,000-point ceiling.

LeBron James of he Los Angeles Lakers swoops to the basket against the New Orleans Pelicans on November, 2 2022. Photo courtesy of the Compton Bulletin
LeBron James of he Los Angeles Lakers swoops to the basket against the New Orleans Pelicans on November, 2 2022. Photo courtesy of the Compton Bulletin

“I was born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan, growing up watching the NBA ever since I can remember…maybe six or seven years old. I’m well of what Kareem, you know, pushed the record to where he pushed it to, thinking like it’s one of those records that’s not going to be broken. But here we are.”

“It’s a testament to ‘Bron’s…just the time and resources that he spends on himself, making sure that not only is he healthy, that he’s healthy at a high level,” Ham continued. “It’s a great message to send to athletes all over the world, regardless of what sport you’re in. The self-care, making sure all the T’s are crossed, the I’s are dotted, in terms of nutrition, sleeping habits, work rates, preparatory work, being efficient with what he’s doing in the moment, whether it’s a game day or non-game day, and also recovery piece.” 

The distance between first and second place is far away. James surpassed former Los Angeles Lakers great Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who is second on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, a while back.

To put things into perspective, James has played in far fewer games (1,474) than Abdul Jabbar (1,550), who finished his career with 38,387 points. James is the only NBA player to record 40,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, and 10,000 assists.

When Abdul Jabbar finished playing it was widely thought that the scoring record was completely out of reach for anyone. Not only has James surpassed Abdul Jabbar, but he’s also taken the scoring plateau to another level.

LeBron James goes over 40,000 points in a career
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) has hit another milestone during his NBA career. Photo credit: Mark Hammond/The Bulletin

LeBron’s teammate Anthony Davis was asked if there was a player he could see in the foreseeable future catching up to James and bypassing him for the all-time scoring mark. 

“Probably Steph [Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry]…the way he shoots the ball,” Davis said. “But it’s tough because he’s [James] not finished playing, So it’s only going to increase and the gap is going to get bigger and bigger.”

What James managed to accomplish was certainly a time to reflect and celebrate. However, the Nuggets had some say about that. Despite leading the Lakers with 26 points on his memorable night, the Nuggets reminded James and the Lakers that they are the same team that defeated them in the Western Conference Finals in 2023.

“I just want to be better,” James remarked. “I just want to figure out a way how we can be better versus this team. They have our number. We haven’t beaten them in quite a while.”

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