LeBron James sounds off on son Bronny's NBA Draft prospects, possibility of returning to USC

On3 imageby:Andrew Graham02/26/24

AndrewEdGraham

NCAA Basketball: Long Beach State at Southern California
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron “Bronny” James Jr. entered his freshman season at USC with plenty of expectations. With just a few games remaining, though, a player some had projected as a potential first round draft pick has slid out of mock drafts.

But his dad and NBA legend LeBron James Sr. doesn’t want to let his son falling out of the first round in a mock draft dictate what people think of him. He took to social media on Monday afternoon to say his piece on behalf of his eldest son.

“Can yall please just let the kid be a kid and enjoy college basketball,” James Sr. said in an initial post. “The work and results will ultimately do the talking no matter what he decides to do. If y’all don’t know he doesn’t care what a mock draft says, he just WORKS! Earned Not Given!”

A four-star prospect an the No. 25 player in the 2023 signing class according to the On3 Industry Rankings, James Jr. was a McDonald’s All-American. He arrived at USC alongside top prospect Isaiah Collier and the duo portended a high-flying season for the Trojans.

That has not been the case, despite Collier being as-advertised. But while Collier is likely to move on to the NBA after this season, things aren’t as clear for James Jr., who apparently hasn’t made a decision based on what James Sr. said.

In a second post, James Sr. continued his advice, applicable to his son and plenty of others.

“And to all the other kids out there striving to be great just keep your head down, blinders on and keep grinding,” James Sr. said. “These Mock Drafts doesn’t matter one bit! I promise you! Only the WORK MATTERS!! Let’s talk REAL BASKETBALL PEOPLE!”

An ESPN 2025 mock draft kicked off the to-do about Bronny

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony released his first mock for the 2025 NBA Draft at ESPN on Monday. As part of that simulation, he had James going 39th overall as a second-round selection. That would send him to the Portland Trailblazers in a pick that originally belonged to the Atlanta Hawks.

James missed the first part of his freshman season at USC after a cardiac arrest due to a congenital heart defect. He debuted in the lineup on December 10th and has since appeared in 19 games for the Trojans.

In those outings, James is averaging 5.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 20.2 minutes per game. He’s shooting just 37.5% from the field to this point, including only 27.5% from three.

James was long considered to be a first-round pick, if not a lottery selection, in the 2024 NBA Draft. For one, his talent out of high school suggested he could reach that level after a year in college. For two, his future has been tied to his father for some time now with it being known that they’d like to team up in the association, so much so that James could potentially leave the Los Angeles Lakers in order to do that.