And-Ones: Bronny, In-Season Tournament, Las Vegas, SGA

Bronny James was grateful to be playing in a basketball game again Sunday, less than five months after he suffered cardiac arrest, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. With LeBron James in attendance to watch his son’s USC debut, Bronny totaled four points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block in 16 minutes in a loss to Long Beach State. He came off the bench and played under a minutes restriction.

“I just want to say I’m thankful for everything,” Bronny said in his first public comment since the July 24 health scare. “Mayo Clinic, everything they helped me with, my parents, siblings for supporting me through this hard time in my life. I just want to give appreciation to everyone that’s helped me through this. Also, my coach, my teammates, all my other coaches. They’ve been with me since the start and I just want to say I’m thankful for them.”

LeBron posted an Instagram message expressing pride in his son and saying he’s already won the “ultimate goal/championship.” Bronny didn’t receive medical clearance to start playing again until November 30. He participated in full-contact practices Thursday and Friday in preparation for Sunday’s game.

“Everybody’s been through a lot emotionally,” Trojans coach Andy Enfield said. “Bronny the most. He’s handled it very well. And anytime you go through an emotional situation, it’s nice to have teammates and staff that care. And I thought his teammates did a great job with Bronny and he’s back now and we’re all excited for him.”

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • The NBA is happy with the reception for its first in-season tournament, but changes are likely on the way. Tim Bontemps of ESPN reviews several alterations being considered, including a more substantial prize for the winner, increased financial incentives for players and coaches, toned-down court designs, a new name, potential changes to group play and tie-breakers, and a different way of scheduling the teams that fail to advance.
  • Las Vegas turned out to be a perfect host for the tournament’s final four, according to Barry M. Bloom of Sportico (subscription required). Although commissioner Adam Silver hasn’t determined if any of next year’s games will be played in Vegas, Bloom notes that there’s no other neutral site with the glamour to make it an attraction for NBA players. He adds that Saturday’s title contest attracted 19,021, and the semifinals and final brought in a total of 53,875 people.
  • Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has won the 2023 Northern Star award, which recognizes Canada’s top athlete, per Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. After earning his first All-Star and All-NBA (First Team) nods in 2022/23, the 25-year-old was named to the All-Star 5 at the World Cup, leading the Canadian national team to its first-ever medal finish at the event, claiming the bronze after defeating the favored Americans. As Smith writes, Gilgeous-Alexander also helped Team Canada clinch a spot in the Olympics for the first time since 2000. Hall-of-Famer Steve Nash is the only other basketball player to claim the Northern Star, Smith notes, with the former MVP point guard winning back in 2005.

Rory Maher contributed to this post.

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