‘Thankful’ Bronny James comes off bench in USC debut

“Thankful” Bronny James comes out the bench for his first game with USC.

Bronny James, a freshman at USC who had a cardiac arrest just over a year ago, made his long-awaited college debut by hitting a transition 3-pointer, delivering a spectacular chase-down block that looked a lot like one he had done before, and adding a steal and free throw late in overtime.

Long Beach State beat USC 84–79 in overtime in the Galen Center on Sunday, though, ruining James’ debut to the court.

James finished the game with 4 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block. He played 16 minutes and came off the bench.

“I just want to say I’m thankful for everything,” James told the media for the first time since his heart stopped beating at a USC practice on July 24. He did not take any questions.

Please accept my thanks to everyone who has helped me via this. As well as my coach, my friends, and all of my other coaches. They’ve been via me from the beginning, and I appreciate them.

James, 19, didn’t get the win he was hoping for, but for him and his family, just being back on the court was everything.

“Mayo Clinic, for everything they did to help me, and my parents and siblings for being there for me during this tough time.”

They were in the crowd of 9,806 people who had bought tickets to see the Lakers superstar’s oldest son play.

Rob Pelinka is the vice president of basketball operations as well as general manager for the Lakers.

Bronny James was in the hospital for three days after his heart stopped beating. He had surgery to fix a heart problem that was present at birth.

On November 30, doctors gave him the all-clear to play basketball again. On Thursday and Friday, he had two full-contact workouts in a row for the initial time this season before playing on Sunday.

“Everyone’s been through a lot,” Andy Enfield, the coach of USC, said. “Bronny has handled it the most.”

He did a great job with it. And it’s nice to have staff and coworkers who care when you’re going through something hard.

The guys who worked with Bronny did a great job, and now that he’s back, we’re all happy for him.

A lot of people were excited for James’s first game for USC. Over two hours before the afternoon’s tip, a long line of pupils formed outside the building and went down a street next to it.

The school sold toward the game on Friday. Before the game started, there was a lot of noise in the arena as LeBron James walked to his place by the court.

With 12:58 left in the first half, Bronny James came off the bench and played. The crowd cheered for him.

Later, James almost forced a steal by putting pressure on the defense, and LeBron James shook his head when play stopped.

A buzzing sound could be heard every time the younger James grasped the basketball. What a loud Galen Center it was when he took his first shot, a 3-pointer, and missed it. If the shot had gone in, it would have been history.

Bronny James made his college basketball start for the University of Southern California on Sunday, almost five months after having a heart attack. He came off the bench.

Big picture: NBA star LeBron James was on the court to cheer on his son, who played 16 minutes in the USC Trojans’ 84–79 OT loss to Long Beach State, just two weeks after being cleared to return.

Long Beach State (7-4) came back from being down 45–30 at halftime. The Trojans (5-4) were ahead by one point when James stole the ball and was called for a foul.

Nevertheless USC couldn’t hold on, and Long Beach State forced OT. He made one of the two free throws with 21 seconds left. The Trojans missed 16 of 36 chances to score free throws.

James went into OT first, but he came out with 2:18 left. On a trip at Auburn on December 17, the Trojans will try to end a two-game losing streak. Their next game probably won’t have as much attention on it as James’s first game.