NBA Hoops

Bronny James ‘grateful’ to have NBA dream within reach after health scare

Bronny James 'grateful' to have NBA dream within reach after health scare

Bronny James still has some lingering fears. He also has big dreams.

Nearly a year after going into cardiac arrest during a workout, he is close to achieving his goal of playing in the NBA just like his famous father.

“It’s just a great thing to happen to me, in terms of just being grateful for everything,” James said at the NBA Draft combine. “I put in the work and stuff like that to get back, so I feel like I’ve earned the opportunity. I’m extremely grateful for everything that’s been given to me.”

James played in a scrimmage on Tuesday after participating in drills the previous day, when he had his vertical leap measured at 40 1/2 inches and his height — without shoes — at 6-foot-1 1/2 despite being listed by Southern California as 6-4. He also answered questions from reporters, something he didn’t do last season.

The son of NBA career scoring leader LeBron James, Bronny James was one of the nation’s top prospects when he decided to stay near home and committed to USC last May out of Sierra Canyon School in nearby Chatsworth. But things took an unexpected turn last summer.

James went into cardiac arrest because of a congenital heart defect during a basketball workout at USC in late July and needed surgery. He was hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and later seen by doctors at the Mayo Clinic and Atlantic Health-Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey.

“It was a tough time, for sure,” he said. “All this work that I put in, it just really built me into someone that would never give up. It paid off because I put in the work after that situation, and I’m back to where I want to be.”

James said the possibility that he wouldn’t be able to play again was discussed. Even now, the fear from the cardiac arrest “is still lingering.”

“I feel like my parents were a big factor believing in me and giving me the love and affection that I needed at that time,” he said. “I still think about everything that could happen. I just love the game so much that it overpowers it.”

James missed the first month of the season. He averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 25 games for the Trojans.

“That would set anybody back, what he went through,” said Isaiah Collier, a projected first-round pick after starring as a freshman at USC. “Y’all gonna see what he’s really capable of real soon. I feel like Bronny’s a great player. He definitely deserves to be here. He’s gonna be fine.”

USC went 15-18 overall and 8-12 in the Pac-12 during a season marked…

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