LeBron James just won his fourth NBA Finals, 17 seasons into his incredible career. He likely has a few years left in him, but whatever happens next, King James has an heir. And his son, the young Bronny James, is increasingly in the spotlight — sometimes, to his chagrin.
When LeBron flashed his wild potential in high school, he instantly became a national phenomenon. Bronny, though, was born in the spotlight. He already requires a security team to keep him safe. In the end, he’s still a high school kid, trying to live his life the best he can. Recently, this got him in trouble.
Bronny James and the blunt: how the jokes got started
Back in September, Bronny was posting clips to his Instagram page, as he often does. He slipped up, though, in sharing the wrong post to his main account. According to Clutchpoints, he posted, then quickly removed, a short clip of himself smoking a blunt. Any kid would probably have a sinking feeling after making that kind of mistake. But Bronny being who he is, he likely had bigger things to worry about.
Rodger Sherman tweeted a reminder. On the night of the 2016 NFL Draft, Laremy Tunsil was expected to go early. Instead, he fell out of the top five picks, to 13th, losing an estimated $10 million in the process. It all went down because someone released an old video of the valued offensive tackle smoking weed, much like Bronny did.
Bronny can count his blessings on at least one front, though. Public attitudes have sharply softened on marijuana, even in the four years since Tunsil’s debacle. The public reaction in his case was mostly jubilance at the schadenfreude. Bronny’s choice of a blunt — a bit old school, in the age of often legal vapes and edibles — made for an instantly iconic springboard for jokes, as Bola VIP reports. Little Bron came out ahead on that one, but he has one person in particular who might not feel the same.
How Twitter and Instagram kept the Bronny bit up during the NBA Finals
This photo looks innocuous enough. A father’s moving tribute to his son. But upon further inspection, the replies are one big riff-fest pointing in exactly one direction: Little Bronny’s extracurricular activities.
Hot New Hip Hop collected some of the big hits across social media. Seemingly every single LeBron gif was repurposed as a reaction to Bronny’s incident. One curious absence was NBA players themselves, who kept the riffs over their colleague’s kid offline. Still, the staying power of the bit was impressive, and it only seemed to heat up as LeBron took his LA Lakers closer to their latest Finals win.
How long did Bronny manage to delay ‘The Talk’ with LeBron James?
Back in September, when the blunt incident was fresh, the jokes were all over the place. During the Finals, as the Miami Heat racked up improbable wins against LeBron’s dominant Lakers, they sharpened into a hilarious focal point. Every win meant the King was in the bubble for a few more days.
And if King James is at work, Bronny earns at least another couple of days of reprieve from his inevitable talking to. As Jimmy Butler attempted to will his team to victories with back-to-back explosive games, the jokes only became funnier. Bola VIP reports that Twitter was alight with reactions roping poor Bronny into the narrative.
Eventually, even with Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic back on the court for the Heat, Bronny’s reprieve evaporated. A one-sided game six put the trophy (and a cigar) in LeBron’s enormous hands. The heir to King James found little legitimate hate for his weed use in the court of public opinion. But now, with the 2020 Finals in the record books, he’ll have to face a blunt talk at home.