June 25, 2024

Bronny James, the son of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, is expected to make his college debut on Sunday when the USC Trojans face Long Beach State at the Galen Center. 

USC head basketball coach Andy Enfield spoke to reporters on Thursday after James went through his first full-contact practice since suffering a cardiac arrest over the summer. 

Bronny James before a game against Gonzaga

Bronny James, #6 of the USC Trojans, wears a heart rate sensor on his arm as he warms up before a game against the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the Legends of Basketball Las Vegas Invitational at MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 2, 2023, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Bulldogs defeated the Trojans 89-76.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

“We assume,” Enfield said when asked if the plan was for James to make his debut on Sunday. 

“Today was his first day of contact practice. He looked good. He has to get his timing back and get in game shape, but I thought today was a good first day.”


Enfield said James has another practice on Friday, and the team will see how he feels and what the medical team decides before determining whether James will make his debut on Sunday, according to ESPN.  

James suffered a cardiac event on July 24 while practicing months before his first college basketball season at USC was set to start. The incident took place where the Trojans play and practice, and he was released from the hospital three days after the medical emergency. 

Doctors later revealed that the cardiac arrest was likely caused by a “congenital heart defect.

James was cleared for a full return to basketball at the end of November, roughly four months after suffering from a cardiac arrest. 

Bronny James cheers on his team

Los Angeles, Ca, Wednesday, November 29, 2023 – Bronny James cheers his teammates from the bench as the USC Trojans men’s basketball team play Eastern Washington Eagles at Galen Center.  (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

“He’s been working out for some time without contact,” Enfield said. “So, he’s been doing cardio, weight training and some shooting. He’s been able to do individual workouts. We’re happy with his progress.” 


Enfield said that James “feels great” and “looks good,” while adding that he will be on a minute restriction at the start of the year. 

“I think everybody is excited for his progress and the fact that he’s here now participating,” Enfield told reporters. “He’s been through a lot physically and mentally, and we’re just excited for him. 

“We had no prediction about when he would be back. This is great that he’s here now. We have a lot of the season left. We’re a quarter of the way through the season. So, the fact that he’ll be able to play three-fourths of the basketball season is incredible.” 

LeBron James has made it clear he intends to be at Bronny’s college debut, telling reporters that he would miss a Lakers game in order to watch his son take the floor for the first time. 


LeBron James and Bronny James share a handshake

Nov. 19, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) shakes hands with his son Bronny James during the second half against the Houston Rockets at Crypto.com Arena.  (Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports)

“Looking forward to his first game,” James told reporters after a November loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. “Whenever he’s cleared, and whenever he’s ready to have his first game, I already told my teammates that if they play on the same day we playing, then I’m going to have to catch them next game.” 

“Family over everything, champs,” he said to his teammates. “I love y’all. I definitely got to see Bronny’s first college game. Whenever he’s ready to go.”

The Lakers do not have a game scheduled for Sunday. The Trojans are 5-3 to start the 2023 college basketball season

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