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With Bronny USC-bound, LeBron is still dreaming of NBA family reunion

LOS ANGELES — When LeBron James first started saying he wanted to play long enough for his oldest son, Bronny James, to join him in the NBA, it was more of a goal than a prophecy.

Who knew if James could sustain a high level of play into his late 30s or early 40s to give that dream a chance?

Then there was the matter of whether his son would develop into an NBA prospect.

And finally — perhaps most difficult of all — is how some franchise will have to maneuver to be in position to draft Bronny and get LeBron onto its roster.

The chances of executing any of these steps, let alone all of them, is so infinitesimal that when LeBron James first started talking about the idea, most people just kind of smiled and nodded along.

But James was serious. Not in a boastful, headline-seeking manner. But as a father, dreaming about what his son might become.

“I was serious, and I’m still serious about it,” James said after the Los Angeles Lakers127-97 Game 3 win over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night at Arena.

For James, that means keeping his mind and his body operating at the highest level.

“If my mind goes, then my body will just be like, ‘OK, what are we doing?'” he said after scoring 21 points, eight assists and seven rebounds as the Lakers took a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series.

As James’ all-time playoff performances go, it wasn’t all that noteworthy, except that he didn’t take a shot until 8:02 remained in the second quarter, the second longest James has ever gone in the regular season or playoffs without taking a shot in his career, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

“It wasn’t how the game was planned, but that’s how the game was going,” James said. “For me, I’m never a ‘force’ guy. I’ve always been a guy to let the game come to me and make my imprint when needed.”

For his son, that means carving his own path to the NBA. A big step of which was taken Saturday, when Bronny James committed to play for USC next year.

The younger James was sitting in the second row, watching his dad lead the Lakers to their fourth straight home playoff win Saturday night.

He has only spoken publicly once about his own goals, during a Team USA camp last month. But he has witnessed all of what his father has been able to do in his career.

He was just a few sections away when his dad deflected a pass from Stephen Curry, hurdling a fan sitting courtside and running up into the stands at full speed.

There is still a long way for LeBron James and the Lakers to go in this series and these playoffs. Even longer for a father’s dream to come true.

But James has arrived here because of his ability to stay present.

“I’ve done what I’ve had to do in this league,” James said. “My son is going to take his journey. And whatever his journey, however his journey lays out, he’s going to do what’s best for him. And as his dad, and his mom, Savannah, and his brother and sister, we’re going to support him in whatever he decides to do. So, just because that’s my aspiration or my goal, doesn’t mean it’s his. And I’m absolutely OK with that.”

This story originally appeared on ESPN

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