Bronny James NBA Draft eligibility: When can USC star join LeBron in the league?

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LeBron James Bronny James
(NBAE via Getty Images)

After signing his National Letter of Intent to play basketball at the University of Southern California, Bronny James is one step closer to the NBA.

James, who 247Sports has ranked the No. 21 recruit in the high school class of 2023, is primed to make an immediate impact on the Trojans during his freshman season, causing many to speculate about his NBA future.

Of course, it also helps that James is the son of the NBA's all-time leading scorer, who has long expressed a desire to play alongside his son before the end of his career.

As LeBron James is now reportedly mulling over retirement, it's worth revisiting just how soon his son, Bronny, can join the NBA ranks.

MORE: The biggest factors to consider about LeBron's possible retirement

When can Bronny James play in the NBA?

Bronny James can play in the NBA as soon as the 2024-25 season.

Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NBA and its Players' Association, a player must be at least 19 years of age during the calendar year in which the draft is held and at least one year should have elapsed since the player's graduation from high school.

As a member of the high school class of 2023, Bronny must wait until 2024 to enter the NBA Draft.

MORE: Bronny James commitment the latest coup for USC basketball

Bronny James NBA Draft stock 

While the 2023 NBA Draft has not come yet, Bronny James has a promising outlook for the 2024 NBA Draft.

ESPN's Jonathan Givony tabbed James as a top-10 pick in his 2024 NBA mock draft, which was released in February. In the time since James has helped himself with impressive performances in the McDonald's All-American Game and Nike Hoop Summit.

As noted above, his commitment to USC is yet another step toward the NBA dream.

How old is Bronny James?

Bronny James is 18 years old. He was born on Oct. 6, 2004, and will turn 19 in the fall.

While James meets the age requirement to join the NBA, it is his high school classification that keeps him from entering the NBA Draft any sooner than 2024.

MORE: Bronny James scouting report following senior season of high school

Can LeBron James play with Bronny in the NBA?

During Bronny James' junior year of high school, LeBron spoke on the aspirations he holds for his son, saying "I want him to get to the NBA … I want to be on the court with him, I think that would be an unbelievable moment."

After Bronny committed to USC in early May, LeBron doubled down on his goal, reiterating that "I was serious, and I'm still serious about (playing with my son in the NBA.)"

The elder James did clarify, saying "just because that's my aspiration or my goal, doesn't mean it's his. And I'm absolutely OK with that."

Whether or not Bronny shares the goal of playing with his dad remains to be seen, but as a highly-touted recruit, he remains on the path.

Is LeBron James retiring from the NBA in 2023?

After the Lakers lost to the Nuggets in the 2023 Western Conference Finals, James took on an ominous tone with respect to his future in the NBA, saying "I've got a lot to think about, to be honest. Just for me personally, going forward, the game of basketball, a lot to think about."

Turner Sports' Chris Haynes reported that James is "uncertain" of whether or not he will be with the Lakers to begin next season, adding that retirement is "under consideration."

James echoed a similar sentiment to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, saying "I got to think about (walking away)."

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Gilbert McGregor is an NBA content producer for The Sporting News.