Prior to the Lakers’ game against the Thunder on Thursday, LeBron James and his family received some great news not related to the NBA as Bronny was cleared to return to practice with his team at USC. The update came just over four months removed from his suffering cardiac arrest at a practice in mid-July.
For very obvious reasons, it was a very scary situation for LeBron and his family which had a happy ending with Bronny healthy and picking up a basketball once more. After the Lakers’ game against the Thunder later in the evening on Thursday, LeBron spoke about his and his family’s reaction to the news.
“Just a proud moment,” LeBron said. “Big-time excitement from our family for Bronny and, now, for USC as well. This is something that he’s been working toward for the last 12 weeks for him to get the clearance, for him to do what he loves to do and go back to being with his teammates and put on a uniform and things of that nature. It’s very gratifying for sure.”
Moments like that can recalibrate priorities for a person, which LeBron spoke about as well on the night. And for LeBron, that means making sure family goes over everything.
Including the Lakers.
When speaking about Bronny getting the chance to return to his “passion,” LeBron also revealed that his priorities are on attending his son’s first game for the Trojans, even at the expense of a Lakers game.
“Looking forward to his first game, whenever he’s cleared and whenever he’s ready to have his first game,” LeBron said. “I already told my teammates that if (USC) play on the same day we playing then I’m going to have catch them next game. Family over everything…Definitely got to see Bronny’s first college game when he’s cleared and ready to go.”
The first reaction to this is happiness that he’ll get to experience that moment and understanding of the even greater importance and weight that moment will carry after the last four months. LeBron should absolutely be afforded the opportunity to catch Bronny’s first game.
Now, having said that, the second reaction is to look to see how likely that scenario is. First, it should be noted that there’s no public timeline of how long it will take for Bronny to return to practice and then be game-ready, so let’s look at some potential overlaps.
The Lakers and USC both play on Saturday, but it’s hard to imagine Bronny rejoining the team on Thursday and playing against No. 11 Gonzaga two days later. I would certainly be surprised if that were the case, but it’s a possibility at least.
If Bronny doesn’t debut this weekend, then it would be about a month before another overlap. Because of finals, USC only plays three times between now and Dec. 27.
On Dec. 28, USC does play at Oregon while the Lakers play at home against the Hornets. Two days later, USC plays at Oregon State while the Lakers travel to the Timberwolves. On Jan. 3, USC plays at home against Cal at the same time the Lakers host the Heat.
Each of those instances features a night game for USC and a night game for the Lakers, so there’s no chance of one being in the afternoon allowing LeBron to attend both.
There are some more instances later in the schedule with more overlaps, multiple more in fact, but I’m not going to compare the two schedules from now until March. It also feels reasonable that Bronny’s debut will come in the next month as well, realistically.
Honestly, I’m excited at the idea of seeing LeBron watching Bronny at USC and reacting to his play from the sideline, regardless if the Lakers are also playing. If it happens on the same night, then I’m going to have it split-screen.
LeBron and his family have been through a lot in the last four months and no one can or should fault them for celebrating this moment.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.