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Bronny James focused on forming own identity, not playing with dad LeBron James in NBA: ‘I haven’t done anything yet’

Bronny James wants to show the world he’s more than LeBron James’ son.

The 19-year-old said as much during a rare media address at this week’s NBA Draft combine in Chicago, telling a horde of reporters that playing professionally with his superstar father is not a priority.

“I would be happy about getting to the league instead of me thinking about playing with my dad, but that’s not my mindset right now at all,” Bronny said Tuesday. “I’m just trying to put in the work and see where it takes me from there.”

Bronny declared for the NBA Draft last month but also maintained his college eligibility, leaving his options open after a cardiac arrest last summer delayed the start of his freshman season at USC by a month.

The guard, who underwent surgery last year to treat a congenital heart defect, was reportedly cleared this week to play in the NBA.

“It was a tough time for sure, but all this work that I’ve put in, it just really built me into someone that will never give up,” Bronny said of the health issue. “It paid off because I put in the work after that situation and I’m back to where I want to be.”

Considered a first-round prospect before last year’s medical scare, Bronny averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists over 25 games, including six starts, with USC. He acknowledged Tuesday that his heart problem was a setback but said he doesn’t use it as an excuse.

At the combine, Bronny measured at 6-1 ½, recorded the sixth-best max vertical leap at 40.5 inches, went 19-of-25 in the 3-point star drill and scored four points on 2-of-8 shooting in Tuesday’s scrimmage.

It has long been considered a dream of LeBron James, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and a four-time champion, to play with his son. James, who averaged 25.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game in 2023-24 in his 21st NBA season, wields a 2024-25 player option with the Los Angeles Lakers.

“This is a serious business, and I don’t feel like there would be a thought of, ‘I’m just drafting this kid just because I’m gonna get his dad.’ I don’t think a GM would really allow that,” Bronny said. “I think I’ve put in the work and I’d get drafted because of not only the player but the person that I am.”

Bronny entered the NCAA transfer portal last month. That means he could play at a different school in 2024-25 if he decides to forgo the draft, which is set to take place June 26 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

The teenager, who did not conduct interviews during his freshman season, spoke to reporters for nearly 20 minutes at the combine. He expressed gratitude for his health and his situation.

“I just want to have people know my name is Bronny James and not being identified as just LeBron James’ son,” Bronny said.

“Everything that follows my dad, people just try to link me with that and all the greatness that he’s achieved. I haven’t done anything yet, so I feel like there needs to be that divide between Bronny and LeBron.”


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