USC’s Bronny James cleared to return to basketball following cardiac arrest

Bronny James has been medically cleared to return to the game he loves, and a return to practice and game action for the four-star freshman is inching closer.

James, the 19-year-old USC freshman who is the son of NBA superstar LeBron James, has recovered after suffering cardiac arrest at a Trojans practice in July. A statement issued Thursday afternoon from a spokesperson for the James Family read: 

“Bronny James is now cleared by his doctors for a full return to basketball. Bronny will have a final evaluation with USC staff this week, resume practice next week, and return to games soon after. The James family would like to express their gratitude to the incredible medical team, the entire USC community, and especially the countless friends, family, and fans for their love and support.”

James will bolster an NCAA Tournament-caliber roster and Pac-12 contender in Andy Enfield’s Trojans, who are off to a 6-2 start and own wins over Kansas State and Seton Hall. USC plays No. 11 Gonzaga on Saturday night in the Legends of Basketball Las Vegas Invitational. 

What does this news mean? James was always going to enter the 2024 NBA Draft as part of his father’s plan for the duo to play in the NBA together, a fascinating storyline as the 19-time All Star and four-time champion could end up with a different organization for the final chapters of his career. 

But the significance of this news is that all signs point to Bronny appearing in college basketball games for USC, something that was far from a certainty when he collapsed in practice in late July. 

James, ranked No. 22 in the 247 Sports freshman class rankings, chose USC over Ohio State and Oregon, electing to stay close to his father for his college career. The 6-foot-3 guard’s stock rose after a quality showing at the recent Nike Hoops Summit and his progress while at Sierra Canyon. His pledge to USC vaulted the program’s recruiting class to a top-30 unit nationally, as it also included No. 1 overall recruit Isaiah Collier

With the trio of Collier, Boogie Ellis and Kobe Johnson, USC has had a high-level combination that has combined for 53.4 points and 10.5. assists per game. 

It will be very interesting to see how Bronny factors into this established equation, but he certainly can help the Trojans because he doesn’t need the ball to impact winning. 

The best news of the day: Bronny can play basketball again after a major medical incident over the summer, and he can enjoy college life, even if it is only for a few months. 

John Fanta is a national college basketball broadcaster and writer for FOX Sports. He covers the sport in a variety of capacities, from calling games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Network to providing commentary on The Field of 68 Media Network. Follow him on Twitter @John_Fanta

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