On Saturday, the USC Trojans basketball team suffered a humiliating 86-70 loss to the Oregon State Beavers and saw their record drop to 6-7. However, freshman Bronny James, son of Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, had a good outing, scoring 15 points and dishing three assists, despite playing only 20 minutes.
James shot 6-of-11 from the field and was the team’s second-highest scorer behind senior Boogie Ellis, who played 38 minutes and scored 20 points. While his efforts did not yield a win, it was exciting to see the young prodigy perform so well.
LeBron was quick to react to his son’s performance, announcing his pride in the young man on X(Formerly Twitter).
His rhythm is starting to return to form after the layoff. Great showing tonight Young [King]. Oh still on a mins restriction too.
Ever the doting father, James made sure fans remembered that the Bronny is still on a minutes restriction. This means that James still isn’t completely healthy yet. However, given how well he already seems to be playing, it’s only a matter of time before he becomes one of the lead players for the USC Trojans.
Fans on X, formerly known as Twitter, were also in awe of James’ impact. One fan noted that the freshman did not hesitate to take shots, whether attacking the basket or shooting threes.
James hit two threes in the game. One was a smooth stepback shot from the corner after he shook his defender with a beautiful dribble. The shot was strikingly similar to James Harden and Stephen Curry‘s iconic move. One fan even said, “That stepback three had me making a stank face.”
Bronny is trying to create his legacy on the basketball court. However, his elite bounce, exceptional athleticism, and stellar agility are all reminiscent of his father. The Trojans freshman is genetically blessed, and one fan noted it, replying, “Having the goat as your dad does wonders.”
While his name, voice, and physical features reminded people of LeBron, one fan claimed Bronny’s performance showcased he trumps his dad in having one critical attribute. They wrote, “Damn he got handles, unlike Bron.” He showed off his handles with the move to shake off his defender and create the space to hit a stepback three-pointer.
One fan noted that he can be a menace on both ends of the court, writing, “The potential is so there to be an elite two-way player. [It’s] just about consistency.” It’s worth noting that the comment came from a Kawhi Leonard fan. The Clippers superstar is arguably the best two-way player of his generation, with two NBA titles and two Finals MVP in his trophy cabinet. For a Leonard fan to notice his effort on both ends of the court suggests he’s doing something impressive.
Bronny showcased his offensive variety in the game against Oregon State. He finished a tough contested shot off the backboard while drawing a foul to earn a free throw. He showcased his defensive skill by stripping the ball off clean before finishing with an emphatic dunk, much like his father has countless times over the past decade. He has a smooth jump shot which he can activate in a catch-and-shoot situation or by creating a shot for himself.
Bronny’s deep bag of skills was on full display. Despite the result, this is an emphatic performance to build on for James.
Bronny James’ season so far and his future
Bronny James’ performance against the Beavers was the best of his college career. His debut was delayed until December 11th after he suffered a heart attack during practice in the summer. He was diagnosed with a treatable congenital heart defect. He played his first game against Long Beach State University and was limited to only four points in 17 minutes. LeBron was in attendance for the Trojans’ 84-79 loss in overtime.
Given Bronny’s health scare, the Trojans have exercised caution in integrating him into the team. He averaged five points in just under 16 minutes in his first four games for USC. He finally got an extended run and scored 15 points while shooting efficiently.
Bronny is eligible for the 2024 NBA Draft, but reports have suggested that he might spend another season in college to refine his game and improve his draft stock before declaring. LeBron James will be a free agent in 2025. He turns 39 on Saturday but is still playing at an All-NBA level. In an interview with ESPN, he voiced his desire to continue playing until he can play with or against his eldest son. He said:
“I need to be on the floor with my boy, I got to be on the floor with Bronny. Either in the same uniform or a matchup against him.”
If Bronny declares for the 2025 NBA Draft, LeBron can follow his son to the team that picks him. The bonus of landing the four-time NBA champion could sway a team or two to pick Bronny. It remains to be seen what the family decides is the best way forward for the college freshman.