Bronny James medically cleared to play in NBA, sources say

CHICAGO — In the aftermath of his cardiac arrest and a procedure to repair a congenital heart defect nine months ago, USC‘s Bronny James has been medically cleared to be drafted by the NBA’s Fitness to Play Panel, sources told ESPN.

The NBA plans to inform teams Monday that the panel’s three physicians evaluated and unanimously approved James, sources said, allowing him to fully participate in this week’s pre-draft combine — an important step to make a case to team executives about his viability as a 2024 prospect.

Sources said James — the son of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James — is expected to take part in the combine’s 5-on-5 scrimmages beginning Tuesday, which will give NBA executives a closer look at James after a disappointing freshman season at USC.

James was sidelined for several months after his heart issues, and that clearly took a toll on his readiness to make an impact as a Trojans freshman; he averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 19.4 minutes per game. James has declared for the June draft while maintaining his college eligibility.

James has until a May 29 deadline to decide whether to stay in the draft or return to college; he has decided to explore the transfer portal if he chooses to play a second year of college basketball.

His agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, told ESPN in March, “I don’t value a young player getting into the lottery as much as I do getting him on the right team in the right developmental situation.”

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association’s collective bargaining agreement has mandated nearly full participation in the combine for all draft prospects, although the league is giving players the option to decline playing in the scrimmages.

At Wintrust Arena in Chicago, players will take part in measurements, athletic testing, medical examinations, team interviews and scrimmaging. The combine offers a significant opportunity for players to improve their standing in front of hundreds of NBA team representatives.

Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of, a private scouting and analytics service used by NBA, NCAA and international teams.

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