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LeBron James will surpass 40,000 career points on Saturday vs. Nuggets: ‘It’s pretty cool’

LeBron James is already the NBA’s all-time scoring leader. But on Saturday night, James is likely to reach a new milestone in his already historic career.

The Los Angeles Lakers star is just nine points away from crossing the 40,000-point mark, something no player in NBA history has done. James should accomplish that feat Saturday night when the Lakers host the Denver Nuggets at Crypto.com Arena.

Although James has already established himself as one of the best to ever play the game, surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the league’s all-time leading scorer last year, James knows how big the 40,000-point mark is, even for him.

“I mean, I can’t sit here and say no, obviously,” James said after the Lakers’ win over the Washington Wizards on Thursday night, via The Athletic. “No one has ever done it. And I think it’s pretty cool that I’m in this position at this point in my career. Is it at the top of the things I’ve done in my career? No. But does it mean anything? Naturally. Absolute. Why wouldn’t it?

“To be able to achieve things in this league, with the best players that have ever played in this league, the NBA, this has been a dream of mine and to make achievements and reach milestones throughout my career, they all mean something to me. Absolute. Obviously there is a ranking of which one is higher than the other, but absolute. I’d be lying to you if I said it didn’t mean anything. Because it absolutely is.”

LeBron James needs just nine points to reach 40,000 for his career, something no player has ever done in the history of the league

LeBron James needs just nine points to reach 40,000 for his career, something no player in the history of the league has done. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA Today)

James officially scored his 38,388th point last year and surpassed Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, immediately leading to an unprecedented on-court ceremony in Los Angeles. The 39-year-old has slowly increased his points tally since then.

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James is averaging 25.3 points per game this season, which is 15th in the league. He has totaled at least 25 points per game except during his rookie season in the NBA.

Kevin Durant is the active player closest to James on the scoring list, although he is more than 10,000 points behind him. James Harden is the only other active player in the top 25, but he has 25,600 points as of Friday afternoon. It doesn’t look like anyone will be able to catch him anytime soon either. Dallas Mavericks star Luka Dončić probably has the best chance, but he would have to maintain his current scoring rate and play until 2039, when he turns 40.

The Lakers enter Saturday’s game with a 33-28 record, which puts them in ninth place in the Western Conference. They have won three of their last five coming into the All-Star break, although James needed 31 points Thursday night to get them past the lowly Wizards in overtime.

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Even though his career is nearing its end, James is not slowing down. As long as he is able to do so, he will continue to increase his lead on the leaderboard.

“I never thought about getting the scoring record,” James said Thursday, via The Athletic. “It just happened organically. I played the game the right way and went out and played the game and let the game come to me and the scoring record happened organically for me. It was never a goal of mine when I came into the league, like I wanted to be the all-time top scorer. But I still play. And I can still score the ball, so the ball goes up until I’m done playing.”

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