Bronny James receives medical clearance to play in NBA

Bronny James NBA combine

FILE – Southern California’s Bronny James (6) drives up the court against Washington during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament Wednesday, March 13, 2024, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

NBA teams were told Monday that Bronny James, the son of the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James, has been medically cleared to play in the league and is expected to participate in the draft combine this week, a person with knowledge of the matter told The Associated Press.

Teams were told of the clearance in a memo sent Monday morning, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the league did not publicly release any details. All players at the NBA draft combine in Chicago undergo medical examinations.

ESPN first reported the NBA’s decision.

READ: Bronny James declares for NBA draft, enters transfer portal

The clearance determination was likely expected, given that Bronny James was able to play the final 25 games for Southern California this past season as a freshman. He suffered cardiac arrest during a practice session in July 2023 and needed a procedure to fix what was diagnosed as a congenital heart defect, then missed several months while recovering.

The NBA convened what is known as a fitness-to-play panel — three doctors who review medical records — to determine if James should be cleared. They determined that he is “medically able and fit to play basketball in the NBA,” which means he can take part in the combine.

READ: Bronny James makes college debut nearly five months after cardiac arrest

James is on a roster to participate in on-court games Tuesday, though rosters and playing plans often change at the combine. All players at the combine are also expected to participate in a media session on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists at USC this past season. He has until later this month to decide if he is going to stay in the draft or return to college basketball for at least one more season.

LeBron James — the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, and someone who just finished his 21st season in the league — said many times in recent years that he would like to play in the league alongside his son. But when this season ended, the Lakers star who could become a free agent this summer said he hasn’t “given much thought lately” about the notion of playing on a team with Bronny James.

“The kid has to do what he wants to do — and I don’t even want to say kid no more — the young man will decide what he wants to do and how he wants his career to go,” LeBron James said when the Lakers’ season ended with a playoff loss to Denver. “I just think the fact that we’re even having the conversation is pretty cool in the sense of that. Obviously, we’ll see what happens.”

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