LeBron says Brony’s USC debut takes precedence over Lakers game

OKLAHOMA CITY — LeBron James is excited to see oldest son Brony make his college basketball debut.

“Whenever he wins and gets ready to play his first game, I’ve already told my teammates that if they’re playing the same day we’re playing, I’m going to catch them the next game,” James said after the Lakers. A 133-110 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night. “Family above all else… but must watch Broney’s first game whenever he’s cleared and ready to go.”

The Lakers ended their road trip with a 2-2 loss, blowing an early 14-point lead in the process, but it was hard to dampen James’ excitement on the day it was announced that Brony had been cleared by doctors to make a full return. Basketball with USC.

The 19-year-old freshman, who suffered a heart attack during a team practice in July and underwent successful surgery to correct what the James family said was a congenital heart defect, has yet to appear in a game for the 5-2 Trojans. .

Anthony Davis and D’Angelo Russell laughed in dismay when James revealed the possibility of missing a Lakers game to watch his son’s debut. However, Davis later told reporters that the two team captains had discussed the plan on a recent team flight and that the 38-year-old had the full support of the locker room.

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Broney will receive a final evaluation by the USC staff this week, begin training next week and return to games soon after, a James family spokesman said in a statement Thursday.

Here are some upcoming dates over the next two months where the teams’ schedules overlap:

Dec. 28 — Lakers vs. Charlotte Hornets; USC at Oregon

Dec. 30 — Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves; USC at Oregon State

January 3 — Lakers vs. Miami Heat; USC vs. California

Jan. 13 — Lakers at Utah Jazz; USC in Colorado

Jan. 17 — Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks; USC in Arizona

Jan. 27 — Lakers at Golden State Warriors; USC vs. UCLA

“A proud moment,” James said of his son’s progress toward a return. “There’s a lot of cheer for Broney from our family. And for USC. It’s something he’s been working on for the last 12 weeks. And to be allowed to do what he wants to do and be back. With his teammates, wearing a uniform, wearing things of that nature, of course. It’s a pleasure.”

Things are looking less optimistic for James’ Lakers, who lost two games by 67 points on a road trip to Philadelphia and Oklahoma City. The Lakers fall to 11-9 overall as they approach the quarter mark of the 82-game regular season schedule.

However, with injuries challenging the roster — Jared Vanderbilt (left heel), Gabe Vincent (left knee), Cam Redtish (right groin), Jackson Hayes (left elbow) and Rui Hachimura (fractured nose) — five projected rotation players are out against the Thunder. They’re not available — the team needs to be complete before finding out how the pieces fit or not.

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“It’s impossible to evaluate,” Lakers coach Darwin Hamm said of the season so far.

But Broney’s update was a big-picture reminder for a team with big goals this season.

“It’s amazing, man,” Hamm said. “I’m so happy for him and their family.”

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