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Here's what Bronny James wants his NBA journey to look like: 'I just want to have people know my name'

CHICAGO, Ill. - Bronny James doesn't need an introduction.

Plenty of basketball aficionados know who he is. He's the point guard at USC, one of the 120 NBA prospects participating in the NBA and G-League Combines at Wintrust Arena this week.

To plenty of others at the combine, he was surrounded by plenty who knew him as LeBron James' son. If he had a choice, Bronny would change the title to that book in an instant.

"I just want to have people know my name is Bronny James and not being identified as just LeBron James' son," James said at the NBA Combine on Tuesday. "I feel like that would be great angle."

James' story is one that avoided tragedy. He went into cardiac arrest due to a congenital heart defect during a basketball workout at USC in July 2023. He needed surgery to cure the defect.

James said there's still some fear lingering from that medical scare, but it doesn't deter him from his dream.

In his lone season at USC, James averaged 4.8 points per game, 2.8 rebounds per game and 2.1 assists per game. His best game was an 11-point, six-assist and five-rebound out in a loss to No. 12 Arizona.

That dream isn't emulating his father's success. He just wants to be his own person and his own player in the greatest men's basketball league in the world.

That doesn't mean it's easy to escape the noise.

The discussion this NBA offseason will be about potentially courting his dad. If a team can get their hands on Bronny in the 2024 NBA Draft, perhaps LeBron would make the switch from Los Angeles to wherever to play with his son.

Bronny said playing with his father was never the true dream.

"Never," James told reporters. "My dream has always just been to put my name out, make a name for myself, and get to the NBA, which is everyone’s end goal that’s here. I never thought about just playing with my dad. But of course, he’s brought it up a couple of times. But yeah, I don’t think about it much."

James was always going to be different from his dad. He's projected to be a guard in the NBA, a stark difference from LeBron's 6-foot-9 stature, which leads to two different playing styles.

The two were going to have different roles in the NBA, and James already has an idea on how to make that happen.

He's been studying guards in the NBA he could emulate. Not as a bright shining supernova, but rather as a player that's known for doing the dirty work without plenty of recognition.

"Guys like Davion Mitchell, Jrue Holiday, Derek White, just to name a few," James said. "Just guys that excel in their role and get good money and get good playing time from it because they are locked into that role and know what they're supposed to do."

Those kinds of role players mirror James' personality. That personality is one that's grateful.

"My personality is a grateful guy," James said. "Passionate for everyone."

Considering the outside noise he hears and the adversity he overcame last summer, James doesn't care about how long it takes to get there.

He just wants his identity to be his and his alone.

"I'm just a good guy and I feel like that's what I want my identity to be in the NBA," James said. "Whether it takes one, two years, three years, I just want to find my role and excel at the NBA."