Bronny James, Andy Enfield both shown on video board at Lakers-Warriors Game 3

Bronny James, Andy Enfield both shown on video board at Lakers-Warriors Game 3

Two human beings appearing on a video board at an NBA basketball game is not, viewed narrowly, a big deal. Two people sitting down in a seat, watching a sporting event, is not going to help USC men’s basketball win more games this upcoming season. Bronny James and Andy Enfield being shown on the video board at Game 3 of the Los Angeles Lakers’ NBA playoff series against the Golden State Warriors is, on a certain level, a trivial thing.

However, the following point is worth underscoring with USC hoops, now that Bronny James has committed to the Trojans: This is a new era. This is a different world. Everything has changed for USC and head coach Andy Enfield.

Stuck behind the UCLA Bruins and their 11 national championships and their boatload of Final Fours, the Trojans have never been the big story in Los Angeles college basketball over the past 60 years. They have had their moments, but even the best USC men’s basketball team of all time, the 1971 group which finished the season No. 5 in the national polls, was eclipsed by the UCLA dynasty of John Wooden, which collected a national championship that season. USC’s best team in the NCAA Tournament since the NCAA field expanded to 64 teams in 1985 was the 1992 team with Harold Miner, a No. 2 seed. That team failed to make the Sweet 16. Had that team at least reached the Elite Eight, maybe USC would have taken off as a program and competed with Arizona and UCLA in the 1990s … but that’s not what happened.

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In the bright lights of L.A., USC men’s basketball has largely lived in the shadows. The 2021 USC team which reached the Elite Eight had Evan Mobley, a special talent, but even then, the Trojans didn’t win the Pac-12 title, they didn’t win the Pac-12 Tournament, and they didn’t get a top-three seed at the NCAA Tournament.

USC might not be an obscure program in Los Angeles — if you think about obscurity, that word best applies, as an example, to Oregon State in Corvallis, or Washington State in Pullman — but even though the Trojans are visible in L.A., they have never been splashy or sexy. They have never really carried much sizzle or electricity.

Until now. Bronny James gives USC some glitz and glamor. The Trojans have never lived in this kind of reality. Bronny’s arrival to Heritage Hall makes USC basketball cool and attractive in a way it has never previously been. The Galen Center is going to be stuffed next season. This past season, the big game against Arizona on March 2 could not draw a capacity crowd.

Those days are over, at least for the coming season. Everyone in L.A. will want a USC basketball ticket. Bronny and his new head coach, Andy Enfield, being shown at the Laker game is symbolic of USC’s transition from page five, bottom-right corner, to page one above the fold. USC has gone from “one of many sporting interests in Los Angeles” to “the place everyone wants to be next winter.”


Even if the substantive value of this little note is small, the symbolic power of this visual image is considerable. It is often the case — especially in an image-conscious city such as Los Angeles — that symbolism can change minds in ways that raw substance fails to do.

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire