In December of 1984 a boy was born in Akron, Ohio who would become the most famous person in the history of that city. LeBron James' ties to his hometown would not only make for a good story when his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers drafted him first overall in the 2003 NBA Draft, they would draw him back to Cleveland in 2014 to help bring the franchise's first title to The Land.
As LeBron prepared for his second season in the NBA back in October 2004, another boy was born in an Akron hospital; his name was LeBron Raymone James Jr., although Cavaliers fans and the entire world know him as "Bronny" James. LeBron's first son grew up in front of Cleveland and its fans, as he was a frequent presence at games, especially during James' second stint in Ohio.
Unsurprisingly given the DNA passed on to him from his father and the resources and personal coaching available from the greatest player in the history of the spot, Bronny James developed into one of the best high school players in the country and earned a scholarship to play for the University of Southern California.
Bronny was preparing for his freshman season with the Trojans in late July when he collapsed after suffering cardiac arrest. It was later revealed that he had a congenital heart defect that led to the incident. Thankfully, his stay at the hospital lasted just three days, and word from the James' family was positive at every turn.
It's been known for some time that Bronny was expected to be able to play basketball again, and that was made official recently when it was announced that the freshman had resumed basketball activities and was going to return to the court for USC in the coming weeks.
Bronny James will return to basketball
That's life-changing news for Bronny and his family, a family still near and dear to the hearts of many Cavaliers fans. The USC Trojans, who lost Saturday night to No. 11 Gonzaga to fall to 5-3 on the season, will have eight days off for Finals before hosting Long Beach State next Sunday.
LeBron was a frequent sight on the sidelines of so many of his sons' games over the years, and he declared that he wouldn't be missing Bronny's college debut for anything. That includes a Lakers game if there ends up being a conflict:
That shouldn't be a bold statement from James; what parent wouldn't take off from work to see their son's very first college basketball game, especially since that debut can't be taken for granted after July's cardiac episode? LeBron is doing what any present and supportive parent would do.
Luckily for both LeBron and the Lakers, the schedule lays out favorably for a Bronny debut not conflicting with a Lakers game. Both USC and the Lakers played last night (Los Angeles won 107-97 against the Houston Rockets) but Bronny wasn't yet cleared to return. The game in a week against Long Beach State won't overlap with any Lakers games; if Los Angeles continues to advance in the In-Season Tournament, LeBron may compete in Las Vegas in the title game, then have plenty of time to get back to L.A. for Bronny's debut the next game.
If Bronny doesn't return in a week, the Trojans' next two games are also clear of Lakers games, so it's possible that LeBron's bold declaration ends up being a moot one. If Bronny's ramp-up takes longer, the Lakers and Trojans will both play on December 28th and December 30th. Either way, it's great to see Akron-born Bronny James returning the court, and Akron-born LeBron James being the kind of father who wants to be there for his son - and actually will be.
If things go well for Bronny this season, it's still possible that he enters the 2024 NBA Draft and makes his way to an NBA team, giving LeBron his wish of sharing the court with his son before he retires. James, who turns 39 years old this month (the Lakers play the West-leading Minnesota Timberwolves on his birthday), is shattering records for production at his age, averaging 24.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.4 assists as the Lakers' best player this season.
It's bittersweet for Cleveland fans seeing LeBron excel in another jersey, but there's no reason they can't root for Bronny and wish him well. His father will be doing the same from the sideline of whichever USC game ends up being Bronny's first.