Bronny James, son of LeBron James, taken by Lakers with 55th pick in NBA draft

June 27, 2024 6:53 PM • Last Updated: June 27, 2024 6:53 PM

FILE – Southern California’s Bronny James, 6, brings the ball down the court during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Washington in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament on Wednesday, March 13, 2024, in Las Vegas. It’s unclear where the son of NBA great LeBron James could end up in this month’s NBA draft. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

It was the dream that first struck LeBron James a few years ago, the idea of ​​playing in the NBA with one of his sons.

And now it’s one step closer to reality.

Bronny James – the eldest son of the NBA’s all-time scorer and four-time champion – was called up on Thursday by the Los Angeles Lakers, the team his father has played for since 2018. Bronny James was drafted at number 55 overall. pick, deep into the second round and with just three picks left in this year’s draft.

“Beyond blessed,” Bronny James wrote in an Instagram post.

What makes the move even more intriguing: LeBron James could become a free agent next week, meaning he could choose to leave the Lakers and sign elsewhere.

“In the history of the NBA, there’s never been a father and son sharing an NBA court and that feels like something that could be magical,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said. “We know, and of course have to respect, that LeBron has a decision to make about his opt-out … but if it were to work out that he’s on our team next season, NBA history could be made. And NBA history should be made in a Lakers uniform.”

The draft move doesn’t guarantee that father and son will actually play in a game together, nor does it even guarantee that Bronny James will be on the Lakers’ roster next season. But it certainly raises the possibility that it could happen in what would be an NBA first: a father-son duo on the court in the league at the same time as players. There have been roughly 100 instances in NBA history of players joining the league after their fathers played, but they always came at least five years after the father’s career ended.

But LeBron James’ incredible longevity — he’ll tie Vince Carter for the longest career as an NBA player ever this season, which will be his 22nd in the league — makes the father-son duo possible.

“With the 55th pick in the 2024 NBA draft, the Los Angeles Lakers select Bronny James from the University of Southern California,” NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum said in announcing the pick, making the moment official for the 19-year-old, who was born just before the start of his father’s second NBA season.

Bronny James is a guard, someone who was listed at 6-foot-1 in Southern California but was 6-foot-1 at the draft combine. That would make him one of the smallest players in the NBA, but his athleticism and defensive skills helped earn him this opportunity.

“Bronny is, first and foremost, a person of high character,” Pelinka said. “And secondly, he is a young man who works incredibly hard. Those are the qualities we look for when drafting players and adding to our development corps with the Lakers.

Bronny James played one year of college basketball at USC and averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game last season. He played in 25 games and missed the beginning of the season after requiring surgery last year to repair what was diagnosed as a congenital heart defect, which was discovered after he went into cardiac arrest during a summer workout.

Last month, a group of doctors cleared Bronny James to play in the NBA.

Nike, the footwear giant with which LeBron James has had a business relationship throughout his NBA career, wasted no time in congratulating Bronny James by releasing a new ad: “The journey continues. Welcome to the big stage, Bronny,” the company wrote.

On Day 2 of the draft, 24 other players were picked ahead of Bronny James, but none of them – actually not even close – got the attention that the selection at No. 55 did, for obvious reasons.

The 55th pick rarely proves to be a player who draws much attention. The best 55th pick in NBA history would be current Miami Heat guard Patty Mills, selected in 2009 and someone who scored 7,893 points in his 15-season career.

Some other notable No. 55 picks include Marc Iavaroni, Mark Blount, Kenny Gattison and E’Twaun Moore. There has never been a No. 55 pick who has been an NBA All-Star, an All-NBA player, an All-Rookie Team player or an All-Defensive Team pick.

Isaiah Wong, last season’s No. 55 pick, scored exactly two points for Indiana as a rookie. Add up every No. 55 pick ever and their NBA career total is 28,364 points – more than 12,000 fewer points than LeBron James has scored in his career.