Bronny James, USC Freshman, To Enter 2024 NBA Draft

Bronny James is taking his talents to the NBA—maybe.

On Friday (April 5), James took to Instagram to announce his declaration for the 2024 NBA Draft and his entry into the NCAA Basketball transfer portal. He insisted that he wanted to maintain his NCAA eligibility while exploring his options at the professional level. In other words, Bronny will be able to have his cake and eat it, too. 

“I’ve had a year with some ups and downs, but all added to growth for me as a man, student, and athlete,” James typed. “I’ve made the decision to enter the NBA Draft while maintaining my college eligibility, and will also be entering the NCAA transfer portal.”

Thank you to USC for an amazing Freshman year, and as always thankful for my family, friends, doctors, athletic trainers and fans for their support.”

One of those mentioned “ups and downs” included a freak health scare that marred Bronny’s first year with the USC Trojans. In July 2023, James suffered from a congenital heart defect, ESPN reported at the time.

James suffered from cardiac arrest during a basketball workout at USC. As a result, he collapsed on the court. LeBron James took his son to Rochester, Minn.’s Mayo Clinic, to have his heart checked out. 

The tests concluded that Bronny most likely suffered from “an inherited condition.” In an official statement, the LeBron Family Foundation spoke about the diagnosis.

“It is an anatomically and functionally significant Congenital Heart Defect which can and will be treated,” the statement said. “We are very confident in Bronny’s full recovery and return to basketball in the very near future. We will continue to provide updates to media and respectfully reiterate the family’s request for privacy.”

The heart defect sidelined him for five months. Upon his return, Bronny James was limited at USC’s practices. His minutes on the floor during in-season games were also limited. In the minimum games Bron Jr. did play, he showed flashes of excellence, but fans could tell his lack of a true offseason and practice severely hindered him. Bronny James averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 19 minutes a game. USC finished eighth in the Pac-12 with a 15-18 record. After the disappointing season, USC’s head coach, Andy Enfield, left the university to get a job at SMU. 

Due to his heart procedure and defect, Bronny would need to complete a Fitness to Play Panel for the NBA to become eligible for the league’s draft workouts, combine, and selection. Bronny James is also set to be represented by agent Rich Paul, CEO of Klutch Sports. Paul spoke to ESPN about Bronny James’ collegiate and professional basketball journey. 

“I don’t value a young player getting into the lottery as much as I do getting him on the right team in the right developmental situation,” Paul said. “LeBron wants Bronny to be his own man.” 

Bronny James #6 of the USC Trojans jumps for a rebound during their game against the California Golden Bears in the first half at Haas Pavilion on February 07, 2024 in Berkeley, California.

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