Bronny James tries to hold back tears in emotional reaction to getting drafted by Lakers

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It always seemed to be the Los Angeles Lakers or nowhere for Bronny James, the son of superstar LeBron James. In the second round of the 2024 NBA Draft, the purple and gold made it happen with the 55th overall pick on Thursday night. 

In videos of James’ initial reaction to getting drafted hit social media, the USC product tried his best to keep his tears in as family and friends celebrated hearing his name called on the television. 

James was keeping his head high as one could tell he was sniffing back whatever waterworks may have been coming. 


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Bronny James shoots a free throw during the 2024 NBA basketball Draft Combine in Chicago, Tuesday, May 14, 2024.  (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

His mother, Savannah, handed him a Lakers hat, which he put on as he bowed his head. 

Another video from James’ younger brother, Bryce, was posted as he immediately said, “Yessir!” in elation at the pick. 

Once the cheers died down, ESPN reported that a champagne toast had been made by the elder James and that it was “very emotional.”


The emotion likely comes from a couple factors other than the pure joy of being drafted by an NBA team. 

The first is the obvious one: James can now play with his father, who was expected to opt out of his current deal with the Lakers, but has a non-financial incentive now to return next season. 

The Jameses are the first father-son duo to ever play in the NBA at the same time. 

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Bronny James talks with his father, LeBron James, after the 2023 McDonald’s All-American Boys Game at Toyota Center.  (Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

James suffered a cardiac arrest in July 2023, and later underwent a procedure to treat a congenital heart defect.  

There was a time when basketball may not have been in James’ future, but he would get on the court at USC later that season. The 6-foot-4 guard came off the bench in all but six of his 25 games, averaging 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists in his freshman season. 

When he declared for the draft, many scouts and experts believed that James had to develop more and that he wasn’t NBA-ready. While that may still be the case, the Lakers are betting on James’ ceiling, taking him late in the second round in hopes that he can develop into the solid two-way guard many believed he could be when he was a four-star recruit coming out of Sierra Canyon. 

James will be developing with not just a new coaching staff, led by first-time coach JJ Redick, but also under the likely guidance of his father. 

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Bronny James poses for a photo during the 2024 NBA Combine on May 13, 2024, at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. (Kamil Krzaczynski/NBAE via Getty Images)


From a personal, and now professional, perspective, it is an emotional time for the James family. 

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