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Southern California University vs University of California

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All fathers believe their children can do great things. But when your father is LeBron James, the expectations can be immense. That is the case for Bronny James, or as he was born, LeBron James, Jr.

LeBron has claimed his rightful place as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. While Bronny is the heir apparent, his collegiate career at USC is just getting started after it was almost derailed when the 19-year-old went into cardiac arrest last year.

Now cleared to play after it was revealed that he had a fixable congenital heart defect, Bronny is hoping to become a starter on the USC squad. But after a series of frustrating losses by the Lakers that leave them with a .500 record as of Thursday night, LeBron reportedly said his son could contribute to the team, like right now.

“He could play for us right now. Easy. EASY,” LeBron Sr. said after a loss to Memphis earlier this month.

Social media users think LeBron should pump the brakes and at least allow his son to develop at his own pace. Bronny has averaged 5.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists in his first eight games, shooting at 41%. But he’s only played 17 minutes so far.

USC coach Andy Enfield provided a more measured perspective, saying after Bronny’s sixth game that he felt the young baller was progressively nicely after his on-court collapse last July.

“He’s a freshman, [and] this was his sixth game. He’s developing as a player, and it’s nice to see and nice to watch. He’s a typical freshman but he had a little disadvantage over most first-year students where he was out for five months and had to come back in midseason. It’s very hard to do.”

As the Lakers pull toward respectability, though, USC mimics them as they also have a .500 record at 8-8, coming off a loss to Washington State on Thursday night. The Cougars won 72-64 at Galen Center for the first time in nine years,

Afterward, Enfield was asked about Bronny, as he’s gone 0-7 in his last games.

“All players go through stretches where they make and miss shots,” he said, adding, “you can affect winning without scoring the ball, and all our guys and Bronny in particular, he’s capable of doing that.”

One thing Bronny does have is his NIL money, which, according to multiple reports, may be as much as $5 million. That makes him the highest NIL earner among college athletes, with Shaduer Sanders just below with an estimated $4 million in earnings.

And he’ll appear on a new trading card with his father. LeBron just signed a new multi-year deal with Fanatics, though terms were not disclosed. Their joint card is set for release Jan. 19.

See how social media is reacting to Bronny’s slow collegiate start and LeBron suggesting he could start for the Lakers below.