Basketball

LeBron James Cheers on Son Bronny After Defending Him from Critics Who Dropped the USC Star from Mock Drafts

LeBron James Cheers on Son Bronny After Defending Him from Critics Who Dropped the USC Star from Mock Drafts

The Lakers star was front row as the USC Trojans defeated the Arizona Sun Devils on Thursday in Los Angeles

Lebron James looks on during the college basketball game between the Arizona State Sun Devils and the USC Trojans on March 7, 2024 at Galen Center in Los Angeles, CA.
Lebron James looks on during the college basketball game between the Arizona State Sun Devils and the USC Trojans on March 7, 2024.ย 

Bronny Jamesย grew up supporting his dadย LeBron Jamesย at games โ€” and now LeBron is doing the same for his son.

The Lakers star spent his day off cheering on Bronny at a USC Basketball game on Thursday night.

LeBron, 39, sat courtside with his wife,ย Savannah, sporting a USC Basketball hoodie while the Trojans took on Arizona State. Bronny and USC came out on top with his parents in the building, defeating the Sun Devils 81-73 at Galen Center in Los Angeles.

The 19-year-old college freshman played 16 minutes for the Trojans, recording two assists, one rebound and one steal on Thursday.

With Thursday’s win, USC now holds a record of 13 wins and 17 losses on the season. On Saturday, the Trojans will host the Arizona Wildcats at USC.

Bronny had a late start to this college basketball season, missing the first eight games on USC’s schedule while he recovered from hisย July 2023 cardiac arrest. Doctors later diagnosed Bronny with “an anatomically and functionally significant congenital heart defect” and heย underwent surgeryย to correct the issue.

 USC Trojans guard Bronny James (6) drives to the basket during the college basketball game between the Arizona State Sun Devils and the USC Trojans on March 7, 2024 at Galen Center in Los Angeles, CA.
USC Trojans guard Bronny James (6) drives to the basket during the college basketball game between the Arizona State Sun Devils and the USC Trojans on March 7, 2024 at Galen Center in Los Angeles, CA.ย 

Since his debut with USC, Bronny has averaged 5.5 points on 37.1% shooting, 2.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 19 games this season. Heโ€™s also averaging 20.2 minutes per game, according to USA Today.

LeBron’s outing to support the Trojans comes shortly after he defended his son when Bronny was removed fromย ESPNโ€™s 2024 NBA mock draftย last month. Bronny is now projected to be picked in 2025.

The Los Angeles Lakers star, who became theย first player to record 40,000 NBA pointsย on Saturday, took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to express his frustration with Bronny falling out of the mock draft.

Bronny James #6 of the USC Trojans greets his dad, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers, before the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Galen Center on January 06, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.
Bronny James #6 of the USC Trojans greets his dad, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers. 

โ€œCan y’all please just let the kid be a kid and enjoy college basketball?โ€ the Lakers star wrote in the now deleted X post, USA Today reported. “The work and results will ultimately do the talking no matter what he decides to do. If yโ€™all donโ€™t know, he doesnโ€™t care what a mock draft says; he just works! Earned Not Given!โ€

โ€œAnd to all the other kids out there striving to be great just keep your head down, blinders on and keep grinding,โ€ continued the four-time NBA champion. “These Mock Drafts doesnโ€™t matter one bit! I promise you! Only the WORK MATTERS!! Letโ€™s talk REAL BASKETBALL PEOPLE!โ€

Never miss a story โ€” sign up forย PEOPLE’s free daily newsletterย to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

ESPN’s NBA Draft analyst Jonathon Givony also came to Bronny’s defense at the time, citing the freshman’s months-long recovery.

โ€œWe have to remember that this kid missed four months with a heart issue, starting in July, that really seemed to derail his season,โ€ Givony explained to Malika Andrews onย NBA Today.

โ€œHeโ€™s one of the best defenders in the freshman class,” said Givony. โ€œIf Bronny James comes back for his sophomore season, weโ€™re going to see a completely different guy. Weโ€™re going to see someone that really could be a lottery pick still.โ€

In addition to Bronny, LeBron sharesย Bryce Maximus, 16, and Zhuri Nova, 9, with his wife,ย Savannah James.

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