LeBron James becomes first player in NBA history to reach 39,000 career points, but when will he reach 40,000?


LeBron James has reached the stage in his 21-year NBA career in which he sets a record in seemingly every game that he plays in. Case in point: he set the new record for most points in a game in any player’s 21st season on Nov. 17 by scoring 35 points against the Portland Trail Blazers — and then he broke his own record two nights later by scoring 37 against the Houston Rockets on Nov. 19. James has played for so long at such a high level that history is on the line every time he steps on the court.

Tuesday offered a slice of history that should belong to James and James alone for quite some time. He entered his final group play In-Season Tournament game against the Utah Jazz with 38,995 career points. Early in the contest, he scored his fifth point and in the process became the first player in NBA history to reach 39,000 for his career.

Last season, James became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer when, in a February game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, he scored his 38,388th career point. That took him past the previous leader, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and put him in uncharted waters. Now, for the rest of his career, every milestone James reaches will make his record harder and harder to catch.

At his current rate, James should still have plenty of milestones ahead of him. James is averaging 26.4 points per game this season, so it should take him roughly 38 more games to reach his 40,000th career point. If that is his pace, he would cross that threshold on Feb. 13 at home against the Detroit Pistons. Of course, injuries are a factor here. Since joining the Lakers, James has played in just under 72% of their regular-season games. If that trend continues, point No. 40,000 should come on March 29 on the road against the Indiana Pacers. 

Depending on how healthy he stays and how much longer he decides to play, there’s little reason to believe that 45,000 isn’t in play. It would probably be a stretch to suggest he will get to 50,000, but we’re talking about LeBron James here. Anything is possible.





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