LeBron “Bronny” James Jr. made his collegiate debut with his team, the University of Southern California (USC) Trojans, on Sunday, months after suffering a cardiac arrest episode during a summer workout session.
The standout freshman, who came off the bench and was on a minutes restriction made by his head coach, Andy Enfield, tallied four points (on 1-for-3 shooting), three rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in 16 minutes in his team’s 84-79 overtime loss to Long Beach State, according to ESPN.
The debut of LeBron James’s eldest child drew a sold-out crowd and a full student section to USC’s nonconference contest against an in-state rival. Many fans wore either James Jr. USC jerseys or his father’s Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers jerseys, according to the Washington Post.
James Jr.’s father, who led his team to the NBA’s inaugural in-season tournament championship with a win over the Indiana Pacers earlier in the weekend, attended Bronny’s first game. The NBA star’s daughter, Zhuri, and mother, Gloria, were also in attendance.
In a short statement at USC’s postgame press conference, Bronny James expressed his gratitude for being back on the court.
“I just want to say I’m thankful for everything: [to] the Mayo Clinic and everything they helped me with, [and] my parents and siblings for supporting me through this hard time in my life,” James said, the Post reported.
“I just want to give appreciation for everyone who has helped me through this. Also, my coach and teammates have been with me since the start.”
It’s been less than five months since James, a former Sierra Canyon School standout, suffered a cardiac arrest episode during a July 27 workout session at the school’s Galen Center. He was hospitalized for three days following the health scare and underwent a procedure to treat a congenital heart defect, ESPN reported.
James, a McDonald’s All-American in high school, was cleared by doctors late last month to return to participate in basketball activates and went through two full-contact practices before playing Sunday.