LeBron James has done just about everything a professional basketball player can do. He's won championships, MVPs and gold medals. He's endorsed some of the biggest companies in the world and grown into one of the most well-known philanthropists in sports. But, by virtue of a decision he made at 18 years old, there is one thing he never really got to do: attend college.
James entered the 2003 NBA Draft right out of high school, two years before the league raised the minimum age. Financially, it was the correct decision. James was the No. 1 overall pick and made tens of millions of dollars before his NBA debut. But in the process, he sacrificed his amateur eligibility, and while he could theoretically attend classes in summers or after he retires, he is so busy that it's unlikely he ever will.
His son Bronny, however, announced his decision on Saturday. He will attend USC next year and play for the Trojans. James, fresh off of the Los Angeles Lakers' Game 3 win over the Golden State Warriors, was thrilled with his son's decision. According to James, Bronny made family history.
"One of the best days of my life," the elder James said on after the game. "First of all, congratulations to Bronny on his decision he made. I'm super proud of him, our family is proud of him. For me personally, it's even more special to me because it's the first time someone out go my family to go to college. Obviously I didn't go to college. It's just a proud moment to see my son go to college, and he's the first one to go college in my family. Super duper proud, super emotional, but just super duper excited and happy for his journey. Today was a proud day. I couldn't lose today no matter the outcome of this game."
Bronny didn't have the same opportunity that his father had. James was able to enter the NBA as a high-schooler thanks to the league's old, relaxed rules on draft eligibility. In 2005, the NBA instituted the one-and-done rule. Now players must be one year removed from high school to enter the draft, but that doesn't mean Bronny needed to go to college. He theoretically could have played professionally abroad or in the G-League. Instead, he chose to become the first member of the James family to go to college.
And after that? The possibility of playing with his father is still on the table. Of course, that doesn't mean that it's a guarantee. James acknowledged his long-time desire to play with his son after Game 3, but he made it clear that his son will have a say in that when the time comes.
"I'm still serious about it," James said. "Obviously I've gotta continue to keep my body and my mind fresh. I think my mind most importantly, if my mind goes, then my body will just go 'okay, what are we doing?' But at the end of the day, if I am, if I'm not, I've done what I have to do in this league. My son is gonna take his journey. Whatever his journey is, however his journey lays out, he's gonna do what's best for him, and as his dad, his mom Savanah, his brother and sister, we're gonna support him in whatever he decides to do. Just because it's my aspiration and my goal doesn't mean it's his. I'm absolutely okay with that. My job is to support my son in whatever he wants to do."
James and his son are still at least one year from playing together. However, now that Bronny has chosen a school, his collegiate debut is only months away. Even sooner than that, he'll make James family history when he officially enrolls in USC.