Bronny James: A timeline from cardiac arrest to cleared to play basketball at USC in 4 months

  • Jeff Borzello, ESPN Staff WriterNov 30, 2023, 03:43 PM ET

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    • Basketball recruiting insider.
    • Joined ESPN in 2014.
    • Graduate of University of Delaware.

Bronny James, the son of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, was cleared for a full return to basketball after suffering cardiac arrest during a July practice at USC. A family spokesperson said Thursday he will resume practice next week and return to games soon after.

In a statement in August, the James family said Bronny James has a congenital heart defect that is treatable, according to medical professionals tasked with his care.

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James, a top-20 recruit in the class of 2023, arrived at USC last spring and is expected to suit up for the Trojans this season. He spent his high school career at Sierra Canyon High School (California), developing into a bona fide NBA prospect over the past couple of years. James was part of a highly touted recruiting class for USC coach Andy Enfield as one of four ESPN 100 prospects — including Isaiah Collier, the No. 1 overall recruit in the 2023 class and the projected No. 1 pick in the 2024 NBA draft.

Here is a look at key moments in James’ journey to play college basketball.

Bronny James has been cleared by doctors to return to basketball, per the James Family 🙌 pic.twitter.com/6LDw9Pr5XL

— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) November 30, 2023

July 21, 2018: Unofficial visit to Duke

Bronny visits Duke’s campus with his North Coast Blue Chips grassroots team.

May 29, 2019: Heading to Sierra Canyon

The Los Angeles Times breaks the news that Bronny — who has just finished eighth grade — and his younger brother, Bryce, are leaving Santa Monica Crossroads and enrolling at Sierra Canyon.

Sept. 3, 2022: Trip to Ohio State

Bronny and LeBron take a visit to Ohio State for the Buckeyes’ football game against Notre Dame, standing on the sidelines at the Horseshoe. A couple of days later, Bronny posts a photo on Instagram of him in an Ohio State basketball jersey with the #notcommitted hashtag. LeBron was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, while Bronny was born in Cleveland.

Jan. 24, 2023: Picked for the McDonald’s All-American game

Bronny is one of 24 players selected to the prestigious McDonald’s All-American Game.

March 29, 2023: McDonald’s All-American Game

Bronny plays 20 minutes for the West team, finishing with 15 points and four assists while shooting 5-for-8 from 3-point range. He also took part in the dunk contest.

April 6, 2023: Bronny breaks his silence

Bronny had not given an interview throughout his high school career, especially regarding his recruitment. But at the Nike Hoop Summit, he finally speaks publicly about the recruiting process.

“Talking to them, talking to the coaches, it’s good to know they want me there with them,” Bronny says, in response to a question about all-star-game teammates recruiting him to certain schools. “But at the end of the day, it’s my decision and I need to make the right one for me.”

May 6, 2023: Commitment to USC

Bronny announces his commitment to the Trojans on Instagram. LeBron James says later that night: “Congratulations to my son on his next journey, on picking a great university. I’m proud of him.

“This is an incredible thing,” LeBron added. “Obviously, his dad didn’t go to school. His mom didn’t go to college. It’s super cool. … USC is getting a great kid. He’s there to play basketball, [but] they’re going to be super surprised at how great a kid he is, even though they’ve been recruiting him for a while.”

May 10, 2023: USC receives letter of intent

USC officially announces the signing of Bronny James, joining the Trojans’ 2023-24 roster.

June 14, 2023: Arrival at USC

USC posts a tweet announcing Bronny’s arrival on campus. “Bronny has arrived,” it says.

July 24, 2023: Bronny suffers a cardiac arrest while practicing

Bronny is treated by medical staff and taken to the hospital, being admitted to ICU.

July 25, 2023: Bronny is in stable condition, no longer in ICU

A James family spokesperson releases a statement confirming the cardiac arrest and trip to the hospital. “He is now in stable condition and no longer in ICU,” per the spokesperson.

“LeBron and Savannah wish to publicly send their deepest thanks and appreciation to the USC medical and athletic staff for their incredible work and dedication to the safety of their athletes,” the statement adds.

Aug. 25, 2023: Bronny’s heart defect deemed treatable

In a statement, the James family says Bronny’s heart condition — diagnosed as a congenital heart defect — can be treated, and the family expects him to return to the basketball court.

Oct. 2, 2023: LeBron says Bronny intends to play this season

During Los Angeles Lakers media day, LeBron James says Bronny is on campus taking classes and is doing “extremely well.” He adds that Bronny has begun the rehab process to get back on the floor to play this season.

Nov. 7, 2023: LeBron says Bronny has an upcoming medical examination

LeBron James says Bronny will return to practice with the intention of appearing in game action if he passes a medical examination at the end of November.

“Things are going in the right direction with Bronny’s progress,” James says. “He’s doing rehab. Every week he gets to do more and more and more. We have a big moment at the end of this month to see if we can continue to go forward. If he’s cleared, we’ll be not too long away from him being back on the floor and back with his teammates and practicing, with the notion of being back on the floor and playing in game situations.”

Nov. 19, 2023: Bronny goes through pregame warmups for the first time

Prior to USC’s game against Brown, Bronny warms up with his teammates for the first time. “It was great. He went through warmups with the team. He’s a big part of our program and our team. He’s a terrific teammate,” Enfield says. “We look forward to hopefully one day getting him back on the court, but when that day is, that’s not my decision. We’re going to be patient and go through the process.”

Nov. 23, 2023: Bronny goes through pregame warmups for the second straight game

James goes through warmups again before USC’s game against Seton Hall. He takes three shots from the corner, according to reports.

“Yes, he is with us and he’s studying the game,” Enfield says. “He’s watching his teammates participate and play and he’ll be out there hopefully pretty soon.”

Nov. 30, 2023: Bronny cleared to play

A James family spokesperson announces Bronny has been cleared by doctors to return to basketball, and that he plans to resume practicing next week and return to games soon after.

“The James family would like to express their gratitude to the incredible medical team, the entire USC community, and especially the countless friends, family, and fans for their love and support. Fight On!” says a family spokesperson in a statement.

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