Lakers' LeBron James Becomes 3rd Player All-Time With 36,000 Career Points

Erin WalshDecember 29, 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 25: Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) celebrates making a three point basket guarded by Brooklyn Nets forward James Johnson (16) in the fourth period of the Lakers 122-115 loss to the Nets at Crypto.com Arena on Christmas Day Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James became just the third player in NBA history to score more than 36,000 points during Tuesday's 132-123 win over the Houston Rockets.

He joins Hall of Famers Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar atop the list. 


Congratulations to LeBron James (<a href="https://twitter.com/KingJames?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KingJames</a>) of the <a href="https://twitter.com/Lakers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Lakers</a> on becoming the third player in NBA history to eclipse 36,000 points scored 👑 <a href="https://t.co/6OdM7Vk5dG">pic.twitter.com/6OdM7Vk5dG</a>

The closest active player to James is his teammate Carmelo Anthony, who is No. 9 on the list with 27,844 points. In addition, James is the youngest player to reach every round number milestone in points, according to ESPN Stats and Info. 

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

LeBron James reached 36K points on Tuesday. He's the youngest to reach every round number milestone in points: 1K, 2K, 3K, 4K, 5K, 6K, 7K, 8K, 9K, 10K, 11K, 12K, 13K, 14K, 15K, 16K, 17K, 18K, 19K, 20K, 21K, 22K, 23K, 24K, 25K, 26K, 27K, 28K, 29K, 30K, 31K, 32K, 33K, 34K, 35K, 36K <a href="https://t.co/ZIVZZcjGXZ">pic.twitter.com/ZIVZZcjGXZ</a>

James, who started Tuesday's game at center for the first time in his career, finished with 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in 39 minutes. It was his 102nd career triple-double. He started at the five because Anthony Davis is out at least four weeks with a knee sprain. 

Lakers assistant David Fizdale lauded James for his performance following the win.

"I don't think you guys realize what this guy just did," Fizdale told reporters. "He just played the five for four quarters and dominated at the position. ... This guy is unbelievable. I can't help it, man. We're very lucky as basketball people to get to watch what we're watching right now out of this man, and it's just beautiful." 

James, 36, has been one of the NBA's most consistent and efficient players since entering the league as the first overall pick in the 2003 draft. He spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers before joining the Miami Heat from 2010-14, where he won two NBA titles.

James returned to Cleveland from 2014-18 and led the Cavaliers to their first NBA championship in 2016. Then he signed with the Lakers before the 2018 season and led L.A. to its first title since 2010 in 2020. 

In total, James spent 11 seasons in Cleveland, where he scored 23,119 points, and in four seasons with the Heat, he scored 7,919 points. He has notched 4,963 points in his career with the Lakers. 

Thanks to James and Russell Westbrook, who also had a triple-double in Tuesday's win,  L.A.'s five-game losing streak has ended. The Lakers will try to keep the momentum going against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday at FedExForum.