LeBron James and the rest of the James family got some great news on Thursday when Bronny, the eldest son of the NBA legend, was officially cleared to fully resume basketball activities following his offseason cardiac arrest emergency. The current plan is for James to get a final checkup from USC this week, followed by a return to practice and, in the near future, his first game action as a Trojan. The elder James, despite his hectic schedule as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, will be in attendance whenever that debut comes.
“It’s exciting. I’m looking forward to his first game. … I already told my teammates that if they’re playing on the same day we’re playing, then I’m going to catch them the next game,” James said. “Family over everything.”
In a perfect world, James would debut for USC at home, in Los Angeles, where it would be most convenient for his family to attend. The trouble there is that USC only has one home game scheduled in December — a Dec. 10 tilt against Long Beach State. That likely means that James will debut on the road.
In the grand scheme of things, that’s not a particularly significant obstacle for the rest of the James family, who have the means to fly private anywhere if needed, but it does increase the likelihood that James Sr. will need to take time to travel to see his son’s first college game.
After USC’s next two home games, they have two road games in Alabama. One is against Auburn, and the other is against Alabama State. That’s significant travel, but conveniently, James and the Lakers do not have games scheduled on either of those dates, Dec. 17 or 19. USC finishes up the month of December with two conference games in Oregon on Dec. 28 and Dec. 30. Unfortunately, the Lakers have games scheduled on both dates.
Missing James for any game would be a real problem for the Lakers. The Lakers have played 334 minutes without James this season, and they’ve lost those minutes by 97 points. At 11-9, the Lakers currently hold the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, a relative disappointment even after reaching the Western Conference Finals from that position a year ago. In an ultra-crowded West, even a single extra loss could easily matter.
But like James said, “family over everything.” This is especially true after the health scare the younger James suffered this offseason. At one point, it wasn’t clear if his Trojan debut would ever come. Now that it is, James will be in attendance as both a basketball luminary and a proud father.