Lakers forward LeBron James (23) scores to earn his 40,000th career points (Mark J. Terill/AP Photo)

With a driving layup in the second quarter in their game against the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James reached 40,000 career points. The milestone comes almost one year and one month after he surpassed Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA all-time leading scorer.

James has averaged at least 25.0 points every year he has been in the NBA. The lowest average came during the 2020-2021 season where he only played in 45 games.

After scoring the layup, the team took a timeout so a highlight reel could be shown to the sellout crowd of 18,997 fans that were in attendance.

“Much respect and much loyalty to the Lakers fanbase for showing their love in the timeout,” James said.

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Through the years, James acquired several nicknames including “The Chosen One” which was iconically printed on his first Sports Illustrated cover.  This new achievement only furthers the monicker that was built for him as a teenager heading to the League back in 2003.

When asked about advice he’d give his 18-year-old self, he noted the high expectations that was placed on him.

“He was put in a position where I wouldn’t wish too many 18-year-old kids be put into but just had his head in the best possible position,” James said. “He just said to himself ‘if you want to make a real name for yourself and your last name and your family and your friends and your city, the only way it’s gonna happen is if you maintain focus and put in the work.’”

James acknowledges fans after becoming the first NBA player to reach 40,000 points (Mark J. Terrill/AP Photo)

The historic accomplishment was “bittersweet” for James as the Lakers lost to the Nuggets 114-124. James led the Lakers with 26 points in the matchup.

“The main thing is always the main thing, and that’s to win. I hate it that it had to happen in a defeat,” James said. “We played some good basketball tonight but we weren’t able to close it out.”

Lakers forward Anthony Davis mentioned how on nights were James broke a record or hit a milestone as of late, the squad was unable to secure a win.

“It’s just tough because he’s not finished playing; it’s only gonna increase and the gap is only gonna get bigger,” Davis said. “Any time he plays, it’s gonna be a new milestone.”

James explained how the level of talent and dedication to the sport has to be high for a player to reach his milestone.

“You have to play the game quite a while and have some good luck as far as injuries,” James said. “You have to take care of your body, you have to be present on the floor and you have to be productive as well.”

The Purple and Gold led by as much as 11 points against the Nuggets. Lakers forward Rui Hachimura scored 23 points and defended Nuggets center Nikola Jokic with energy in the first half. All Lakers starters scored over 15 points.

“Guys just being aggressive trying to help their team win,” said Lakers head coach Darvin Ham. “[Hachimura] was huge for us tonight throughout the game on both sides of the ball, Austin (Reaves) the same.”

Reaves scored 19 points and 14 assists in the matchup. The Lakers had a two-point lead with 4:11 left in regulation but the Nuggets executed shots as the clock ran down. Several Lakers players mentioned how they worked on battling against their set of plays in the final minutes.

“It gets down to the last three, four or five minutes, it’s a team that really executes,” Reaves said. “You know that going into the game so you have to be really sharp at what you do on both ends of the court.”

Hachimura noted how the Lakers are still building connectivity with each other. The loss does not give him doubts about the abilities of the Purple and Gold.

“We’re still missing a couple of guys … we’re trying to figure out our team,” Hachimura said. “I know we don’t have that much time, but we just got to keep building that chemistry.”

James now has 40,017 career points. The Lakers will host the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 4 at 7:30P.M.