‘Make a name for myself': It's Bronny James, not LeBron James Jr.

‘Make a name for myself': It's Bronny James, not LeBron James Jr. originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

CHICAGO ---- It's "Bronny James," not "LeBron James Jr.," even if that is technically the name of LeBron James' son.

But the 19-year-old doesn't see it that way. He wants his own pen and paper to write his story in the NBA, should a team draft him on June 27. He made that abundantly clear at the NBA Combine in Chicago on Tuesday.

"I'm a genuine person," he said when asked about what he wants NBA executives to know about him. "I've gotten a lot of lessons from my mom and my dad. But also putting that 'Bronny James' narrative out there instead of just being LeBron James' son. I feel like that's really important for me."

Growing up in the shadow of James isn't easy. How can you follow four NBA titles, four Finals MVP awards, four MVP awards, 20 All-Star appearances, 19 All-NBA selections, six All-Defensive teams and owning the most career points in NBA history?

It's simple. You can't. No one can. That's why he's one of, if not, the greatest player of all time.

But Bronny isn't striving for it, either. Right now, he just wants to get drafted. It's evident he doesn't possess the size, skill, or athleticism that his dad has; although, he scored exceptionally well in several athletic tests at the combine. He just wants to be wherever he's most happy, whether that's in the NBA or back to college.

And that's what it's truly about for Bronny in the long run --- making a name for himself.

"My dream has always just been to put my name out, make a name for myself," he said. "And of course, you know, get to the NBA, which is everyone's goal that was here. I never thought about playing with my dad but, of course, he's brought it up a couple of times."

Of course, what dad wouldn't want to play with their son in the NBA? No one's ever done it. It's a testament to James' undeniable greatness, even while teetering with turning 40 years old. That's the legacy he's creating.

There's also no hiding from it. Bronny has all the resources an athlete could need to make his dreams come true in the NBA. So, while he doesn't want to live in his dad's shadow, he also knows he wouldn't be here without him.

"I give all the credit to my dad," Bronny said. "He's taught me a lot of things and, you know, show up the right way and showcase yourself the right way. Give a great example, a first example of yourself. I feel like he's driven that into me and my brother really well."

Still, even in showcasing himself in the right way, he's a work in progress. Bronny is known for the intangibles; his defense, his basketball IQ and being a great teammate. Those are strong qualities, but they'll only get you so far in the NBA.

His freshman season at USC was underwhelming. In 25 games, he finished averaging 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists in nearly 20 minutes per game. He shot poorly from the field (36%) and even worse from beyond the arc (26%). Scouts will tell you, however, he'll get serious looks in the draft if he remains.

But give him some credit. He nearly died last summer. On July 24 during a USC practice, Bronny suffered cardiac arrest and was hospitalized for three days in Los Angeles. He underwent a procedure to treat a congenital heart defect.

That certainly didn't help him going into his first collegiate season. The incident sidelined him for four months, not earning clearance to play again until late November. He admitted, too, that the thought of his heart failing again has "lingered" in his mind.

But Bronny, being the humble, introspective, optimistic person that he is, took that situation as a positive.

"It was such a great thing that happened to me, in terms of being grateful for everything and stuff like that," Bronny said. "I've put in the work to get back so I feel like I've earned the opportunity. I'm extremely grateful for everything that's been given to me and stuff like that."

So, where does he go from here?

Bronny has until May 29 to decide whether or not he'll continue his declaration for the NBA Draft, or return to school. He said he has yet to make a decision, but he plans to spend a lot of time by himself "thinking about where I want to be and where my heart wants me to be."

But if one thing's exceptionally clear in the bigger picture, he hopes to build up the moniker "Bronny James" and discard "LeBron James' son" in terms of his playing career.

"Bronny was just a nickname that I was given when I was younger. Everything that follows my dad people just try to link me with that and all the greatness he's achieved. I haven't done anything yet, so I feel like there needs to be that divide between Bronny and LeBron."