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LeBron James takes another step in the NBA

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LeBron James reached 40,000 points on Saturday night (Sunday AEDT), still going strong in his 21st NBA season as he attempts to put the career scoring record out of reach.

James drove past Michael Porter Jr. and made a layup with 10:39 left in the second quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers’ 124-114 loss to the Denver Nuggets for the historic basket, as reports the New York Post.

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“Being the first player to do something is pretty cool in this league, just knowing the history, the greats that have come through the league, and then you see some of the greatest on the field tonight, it was great to compete,” James said.

“But for me, the main thing, as always, is to win, and I hated that it came with a defeat.”

James did it in 1,475 regular-season games, reaching double-digit points in each of the last 1,205 of them.

He largely avoided serious injuries during that span, while playing another 3.5 seasons of playoff games en route to four titles in 10 NBA Finals appearances, all with unfathomable pressure placed on him for him to be the next transcendent player before stepping on him. the court as a professional.

“For the first time in a long time, I saw the commercial air before my first game,” James said. “I think they mentioned every great that ever played basketball, like Big O, Michael, Kareem and Kobe, and forgot who everyone else was in that commercial. And then it was like “next one, LeBron James.”

“I didn’t see that ad when it happened, but when I looked at it today, I was like, what is this? This expectation of an 18 year old like that, it was crazy to think about.

Despite all of this, James has worked hard and has now accomplished something that once seemed impossible.

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

But James did all this without necessarily intending it to be his trademark.

He is fourth in career assists with 10,847, tallying nine more against Denver, and his average of 7.35 assists per game ranks in the top 25.

But that evening, it was the Nuggets, title holders, who won.

Denver was led by Nikola Jokic, who had 35 points and 10 rebounds as the Nuggets closed the game on a 16-6 run for their sixth straight victory.

Michael Porter Jr. – who was 5 of 5 from 3-point range – scored 25 points while Jamal Murray added 24 points and 11 assists.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone, who spent five seasons with James as an assistant with the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2005 to 2010, saw an early dedication from James in all areas.

It was already a priority for James to keep himself in optimal physical condition, even if the march to the title was an unforeseen outcome for them.

“I remember being in Cleveland, he was in the weight room with our weight and strength coaches, and there’s no way he’s doing what he’s doing at this point in his career if he doesn’t spend a lot of time on his body, his diet, his sleep, all those things that really matter,” Malone said before the Nuggets’ victory.

James’ combination of longevity and sustained excellence is what makes it entirely likely that he will be the only player to reach 40,000 points.

To put the feat in perspective, Nuggets center Nikola Jokic will need to average 25 points in his next 1,057 appearances to join James at 40,000 points.

That would be nearly 13 full seasons without injuries or any other unforeseen circumstances, beyond age 41, with no drop in production for the two-time MVP.

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic seems like the most reasonable candidate to make a serious effort, as his career average of 28.51 points per game is third in league history behind Michael Jordan (30. 12) and Wilt Chamberlain (30.07).

But Doncic will need to keep up the pace for another 1,022 games to match James, a schedule that advances to the 2036-37 season, barring a break.

“There’s just some things that you just don’t think are going to happen,” James said. “I guess for years people said Kareem’s record wouldn’t be broken. I was able to eclipse him. But like I said, you have to be really lucky, you have to play at a high level for a long time, and then you see.

As for whether James could ever move into the 50,000 point club, a conservative estimate of 25 points per game from here on out – essentially matching what he produced in his 21st pro campaign at age 39 – playing 55 outings each upcoming season would put him at the threshold in 2031-32.

Malone wouldn’t rule it out.

“Really, when you step back, you just have to marvel at the longevity. But he just doesn’t play that. He plays efficiently,” Malone said.

“I’m sure for him it will be his decision in five or six years. “Am I still playing effectively? And he is.”

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

“I come to work and I prepare myself mentally, physically and spiritually every night when it’s time to play, and I 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 on the field and I feel pretty good, I feel like I can play.

“I’m still able to do the things I did 10 years ago. And some things I was doing 20 years ago, which is weird to say.

This article was originally published in the New York Post and has been reproduced with permission

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