In Thursday night’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets, LeBron James became the third player in the history of the NBA to score 35,000 career points. He did so, and that put him in elite company in terms of both skill and longevity. Only two other players in NBA history have scored 35,000 points, and both also wore coincidentally Lakers: Karl Malone (36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387).
36-year-old James also became the youngest player in league history to reach the 35,000-point plateau. Malone was 39 when he scored his 35,000th point while Abdul-Jabbar did it at the age of 38.
In the game, James needed 15 points to reach 35,000 for his career. The historic moment came in the second quarter. James went to the free-throw line down double-digits against the Nets and converted his first attempt to reach 15 on the night, getting him past the 35,000 mark. He ended the night with 32 points, on 14-of-23 shooting, along with eight rebounds and seven assists.
The Nets who are widely considered to be the Lakers’ primary competition, dominated for most of Thursday’s game, and built a 25-point lead while the Lakers helplessly tried to keep it close, eventually losing 109-98. For Brooklyn, Kevin Durant was out and for Los Angeles, there was no Anthony Davis and guard Dennis Schroder.
It is remarkable to note that in every season of his career, James has scored a minimum of 1,500 points, and he has gone above 2,000 points in a season 10 times. Given his current trajectory, he could reach the 36,000-point before the season ends and should pass Malone on the all-time scoring list during the 2021-22 season.
This was not the only milestone that James achieved this week. The four-time MVP is also within 400 rebounds of the career 10,000 rebound mark and within 500 assists of reaching 10,000 for his career.
In 29 games this season, the MVP candidate is averaging 34.7 minutes, 25.7 points, 7.9 assists and 8.2 rebounds.