LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

SEATTLE - Twenty one seasons into his NBA career, it's fair to say there is really nothing left for LeBron James to prove. The NBA's all-time scoring leader reached the 40,000-point mark in the regular season just a few days ago against the Denver Nuggets, becoming the only player in basketball history to do so.

LeBron James scored his 40,000th point in the NBA with a layup over Denver Nuggets' Michael Porter Jr.

But there's still one record left to break for the NBA's greatest scorer ever, and that is the worldwide title that the Brazilian Oscar Schmidt has held since his retirement from professional basketball in 2003.

Nicknamed 'Holy Hand,' Schmidt scored a total of 49,737 points over a club and national team career that spanned across four decades.

He was a 6'9" forward that led the Brazilian national team to five consecutive Olympic games (1980-1996) and, to this date, remains as the all-time scorer in the Olympics with 1,093 points.

Although he was arguably one of the most prolific scorers in basketball history, 'Mão Santa' Schmidt never played in the NBA. He was drafted by the Nets in the sixth round of the 1984 NBA Draft, but declined to play in the NBA because by doing so he would be ineligible to play for the Brazilian national team.

"The reason I never played in the NBA was that, as I started to get older, you must run fast every game and I just said no. The change in rules came too late in my career. Before that the most important thing for me was playing in for my country, so I refused all NBA advances. I have no regrets and I would still do the same thing now if the rules were still the same," Schmidt said about the reason why he never made it to the U.S. league.

The prolific Brazilian scorer retired from basketball in 2003 at the age of 45 and after 29 seasons. Schmidt was introduced to the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2010 and was named to FIBA's 50 Greatest Players list in 1991. In 2013, Schmidt received another massive honor in the basketball world when he was enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Despite Schmidt's impressive record, LeBron James could match it having played in far fewer games than the Brazilian. If we add all of LeBron's points at the club level and with Team USA, the Lakers star sits at 49,472 points, just 265 points shy of tying 'Mão Santa' Schmidt for the world record.

LeBron James' points breakdown

  • 40,036 points scored in the NBA's regular season (record)
  • 8,023 points scored in the NBA's playoffs (record)
  • 979 points scored for Team USA
  • 434 points scored at the NBA's All-Star game (record)
This is how LeBron James reached 40,000 career points in the NBA (regular season only) - Via @kirkgoldsberry on X/Twitter

With less than 20 games left in the regular season, James would need to average about 13 points per game before the end of the season to reach Schmidt's total. Seems like a reasonable task for him, considering he is averaging 25.2 PPG in his 21st season in the NBA.

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