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LeBron James surpasses 40,000 career points with LA Lakers

Written by: DAN GREENSPAN (Associated Press)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James reached 40,000 points on Saturday night and is still going strong in his 21st NBA season as he tries to put his career high within reach.

James passed Michael Porter Jr. and hit a layup with 10:39 left in the second quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers’ historic 124th loss to the Denver Nuggets.

“Being the first player to do something was pretty cool in this league, just knowing the history, knowing the greats that have come through the league and then seeing some of the greats on the field tonight, it was cool to compete,” James said. aforementioned. But for me, the main thing was to win, as always, and I hated to see that come with a defeat.”

James did this in 1,475 regular season games and has reached double-digit points in each of the last 1,205 games. He largely avoided serious injuries during that time, while also playing another 3.5 seasons worth of games in the playoffs en route to four championships in 10 NBA Finals appearances, all of which put incredible pressure on him to be the next superior player before him. I always go out on the field as a professional.

“For the first time in a long time, I saw the commercial that was shown before my first game,” James said. “I guess they talked about all the greats who played basketball like Big O, Michael, Kareem, and Kobe, and they forgot who everyone else was in that commercial. Then it was ‘next LeBron James.’

“I didn’t see that commercial when it happened, but watching it today it was like, what happened? “It was crazy to even think about that expectation from an 18-year-old kid.”

Despite all this, James worked hard and achieved something that now seems impossible.

James’ relentless march allowed him to surpass the previous record of 38,387 points scored by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar against the Oklahoma City Thunder on February 7, 2023.

But James scored all these goals without wanting it to become his trademark. The player, who ranks fourth in his career with 10,847 assists, made nine more assists against Denver and ranked in the top 25 with an average of 7.35 assists per game.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone, who spent five seasons alongside James as a Cleveland Cavaliers assistant from 2005 to 2010, saw James’ early dedication in every aspect. Although advancing to the championship was an unpredictable outcome, keeping James in peak physical condition was already a priority.

“I remember being in Cleveland and being in the weight room with our weight and strength coaches, and there’s no way he’s doing what he’s doing at this stage of his career if he’s not putting a lot of time into his body and his diet. “Sleep is all that’s really important,” Malone said before the game.

James’ combination of longevity and sustained excellence strengthens his odds of becoming the only player to reach the 40,000-point mark.

To put that success into perspective, Nuggets center Nikola Jokic will need to average 25 points in his next 1,057 games for James to reach 40,000 points. That would mean almost 13 full seasons for the two-time MVP, without any drop-off in production, until he turns 41, without injury or any other unforeseen circumstances.

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic seems like the most plausible candidate to make a serious move, as his 28.51 points per game average ranks third in league history behind Michael Jordan (30.12) and Wilt Chamberlain (30.07). But Doncic will need to play 1,022 more games to compete with James; This is a timeline that progresses to the 2036-37 season, barring interruption.

“There are some things you don’t think will happen,” James said. “I think for years people were saying Kareem’s record would never be broken. I managed to outshine him. But like I said, you have to have really good luck, you have to play the game at a high level for a long time and then we see.”

As for whether James will be in the 50,000-point club, a conservative estimate is 25 points per game from now on — essentially the same as he’s producing in his 21st professional season at age 39. Appearing on the field 55 times in the coming seasons would bring him to the brink of the 2031-32 season.

Malone doesn’t rule this out.

“Really, when you take a step back, you have to marvel at the longevity. But he doesn’t play on that. “He’s playing effectively,” Malone said. “I’m sure that’s going to be a decision for him probably in five, six years. ‘Am I still playing effectively?’ And he.”

If anyone would dare to denounce the impossible, it could only be King James.

“I come to work every night when it’s game time and I prepare and prepare mentally, physically and spiritually and just try to go out and contribute,” he said. “I’ve been able to do this for over 20 years, including this year. When I get out there and I feel pretty good, I feel like I can play.

“I can still do the things I did 10 years ago. And it was weird to say some of the things I did 20 years ago.”

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba

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