Bronny James Makes NBA Summer League Debut, Displays Promise Despite Challenges

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Bronny James, son of NBA superstar LeBron James, made his NBA Summer League debut on Saturday for the Los Angeles Lakers. The 19-year-old guard faced the Sacramento Kings in the California Classic, marking his first competitive game since his college career at USC ended in March.

Despite the Lakers’ 108-94 loss, Bronny showed flashes of potential in his 22 minutes on the court. He finished with 4 points on 2-for-9 shooting, adding 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal to his stat line. While these numbers may seem modest, they actually reflect the typical challenges faced by young players transitioning to the professional level.

Surprised at the warm reception he received from the Golden State crowd, Bronny James told ESPN that,

“The atmosphere was more than I expected. I didn’t know if people from Golden State would come and rep for me. So that was pretty nice to see.”

His coach, Dane Johnson, was among those who weighed in on his performance at the game. He said,

“He’s (Bronny) just got to keep learning, keep getting reps and learning how much he’s capable of. Like, his body, he can get downhill if he uses his shoulder if he has a little bit of an advantage on somebody. And just building that confidence into him.”

LeBron James, speaking from USA Basketball’s training camp in Las Vegas, talked about the importance of the learning process over statistics. “The only thing that matters is him getting better and stacking days,” the elder James said.

A standout moment came in the second quarter when Bronny James showcased his defensive skills, stealing a pass and initiating a fast break that led to a teammate’s basket. He followed this with his first points of the game, a driving layup that tied the score at 31-31.

Reflecting on these moments, Bronny said,

“Moments like that can slow it down. Slow the game down for you, especially, because I wasn’t as productive as I wanted to beforehand.”

While Bronny James struggled with his shot, particularly from three-point range, he remained focused on improvement.

“I was trying to get downhill as much as I could to open up the 2-ball, and the midrange, and the 3-ball,” he explained. “Couldn’t get the 3-ball to fall, but with all the reps, it’s going to come more smooth.”

For Bronny, this debut was just the beginning of his professional basketball journey, and he acknowledges the nerves that come with each new level of competition.

“Every first game that I step into the next level, it’s always some butterflies in my stomach,” Bronny admitted. “But as soon as the ball tips and we go a couple times down, it all goes away and I’m just playing basketball.”