Bronny James Makes NBA Debut, Shows Promise in Lakers’ Summer League

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Once the ball left his fingertips and arched its way into the waiting net, marking his first ever NBA points in the second quarter, young Bronny James could finally breathe. The world, in that moment, began to whir a bit slower for him. The missed attempts that marked his initiation into the professional basketball world were erased, replaced with a newfound sense of confidence.

Bronny is realistic about his expectations, acknowledging the nascent stage of his career where slip-ups are not only expected, but welcomed. He looks to every touch, every shuffle on the basketball court, as stepping stones to his evolution as a player.

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Bronny, stepping onto the court amidst the sounds of fervent applause on Saturday, could taste the love and enthusiasm, even though he was in the heart of the Bay Area – a territory commanded by Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors. “It was an incredible atmosphere, more than I anticipated,” Bronny said, his grin wide and infectious. He expressed his surprise and appreciation for the support from Golden State fans who showed up to support him – an unexpected yet heartwarming sight.

Radiating a striking resemblance to his celebrated father, LeBron James, he too slipped into the signature Lakers gold, oversized headphones crowning his head, to make his NBA Summer League debut on Saturday. The uncanny similarity, from their identical mannerisms, facial expressions, to the way they played defense, had spectators at the Chase Center doing double-takes.

Bronny donned the jersey number 9 – distant from his father’s previous number 6, then number 23, as he took his spot in the starting lineup for the Los Angeles Lakers. His professional journey had officially taken off, observed by keen-eyed scouts in the audience.

“Every time I play the first game at a new level, there are always butterflies in my stomach,” Bronny admits. Yet once the game gets going, the unease fades, leaving him to simply play the game he loves.

Bronny had a rocky start – making just 2 out of 9 shots for four points, failing to deliver on all three of his 3-pointers. However, he managed to snatch two rebounds and assist twice – all in under 22 minutes of playtime. The Lakers ultimately fell 108-94 to the Sacramento Kings.

Bronny’s first ever NBA points came after a driving layup, just minutes before halftime. A crucial bucket, it eased his mind and rejuvenated him. He understood his performance wasn’t optimal, but he looked to the future with optimism, convinced that the rhythm of the game would eventually grow more fluid with practice.

Though Bronny’s beginnings are marked with hurdles such as these, Lakers are investing in his future. In fact, they drafted him 55th overall in the second round. Coach Dane Johnson plans to continue giving Bronny substantial playtime to adapt and gather invaluable experience.

Johnson is mindful of Bronny’s sharp court awareness, stating “we all know he has good instincts already”. He believes that through the Summer League and the coming season, Bronny will incorporate consistency into his instinctual gameplay, resulting in a formidable skill-set.

This journey, if it unfolds as envisioned, may even lead to Bronny and his dad being recorded in NBA’s history as the first father-son duo to concurrently play professionally – and even more impressively, on the same team.

Despite the outcomes of Bronny’s appearance in the California Classic and Summer League, his father LeBron emphasizes the importance of learning and growth. “The only thing that matters is him getting better and stacking days,” says LeBron.

Bronny, having survived a cardiac arrest in July last year, showed indomitable spirit by bouncing back. A four-year contract that will pay him $7.9 million awaits him as Bronny steps forward in his journey. He pledges to maintain his aggression and self-belief on and off the court.

He concludes, “Looking at my mistakes and looking at the things I did right is really good for me,” emphasizing the importance of learning from his errors and past successes. “But also just game by game growing that comfort in my playing my game, I feel like that’s a big part of why I come out here and get those reps in.” With these words, Bronny James cements his commitment to growing as a basketball player, embodying the spirit of resilience, determination, and unyielding drive.