LeBron James may miss Lakers games in the near future, depending on another local basketball team’s schedule.
James’ eldest son, Bronny, has yet to make his USC debut after suffering a cardiac arrest during a team practice in July. The 19-year-old freshman took a major step on his road to recovery Thursday when doctors cleared him to return to the basketball court.
Bronny’s return could put LeBron in a dilemma: What would happen if the Lakers played on the same day as his son’s college debut. In the four-time NBA champion’s mind, it wasn’t a decision at all.
“Whenever he’s cleared and ready to play his first game, I’ve told my teammates that if they play on the same day that we play, I’m going to have to catch them in the next game,” James said after the game Thursday night. The Lakers lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 133-110 (ESPN’s Dave McMenamin).
“Family above all else…but whenever Bronny is healthy and ready to play, I’m definitely going to see him play his first game.”
Lakers big man Anthony Davis said LeBron has the full support of his teammates.
A spokesperson for the James family said in a statement Thursday that Bronny will begin practicing next week after receiving a final evaluation from USC staff and be eligible to play “shortly.” USC head coach Andy Enfield said earlier this week he wasn’t sure “how long” it would take Bronny to suit up with the team.
Looking at the Lakers and Trojans schedules, there are several dates in late December and January when both teams play on the same day:
- Dec. 28: Lakers vs. Hornets, USC-Oregon
- Dec. 30: Lakers at Timberwolves, USC at Oregon State
- January 3: Lakers vs. Heat vs. USC-Calif.
- Jan. 13: Lakers at Jazz, USC at Colorado State
- Jan. 17: Lakers vs. Mavericks, USC Arizona
- Jan. 27: Lakers at Warriors, USC at Los Angeles Lakers.UCLA
The Lakers are 11-9 so far this season, while the Trojans are 5-2 heading into Saturday’s game against No. 11 Gonzaga. While Bronny won’t play in that game, his father will be in the crowd when he completes his comeback.
“It’s a proud moment,” James said of Bronny’s progress. “Our family is very excited about Bronny. So is USC. That’s what he’s been working towards over the last 12 weeks. For him to be able to do what he loves to do, be back with his teammates and put on the team Services and things like that, it’s definitely very gratifying.”
Bronny James, the son of superstar LeBron James, is in stable condition after suffering a cardiac arrest during a USC basketball practice.