NBA

Growing Up Bronny: The Circus Basketball Life of the Son of LeBron James

Sometimes it’s just not fair to be the child of a celebrity. There comes an added sense of pressure, the expectation that the child will have to go on and live up to the status of the parent. For LeBron James Jr., known as Bronny to most, the bar has been set pretty high. LeBron James is in the middle of a basketball career that many say is the best of all time. If he’s not the best basketball player of all time, he’s always in the conversation. Bronny is following in his father’s footsteps and is taking it all in stride as a 15-year-old freshman.

LeBron James’ legendary NBA career

Even at the age of 35, LeBron James hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down on the basketball court. Before the 2019-20 NBA season was put on hiatus, James was a co-favorite, along with Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, in the MVP race.

James was having yet another stellar season, averaging 25.7 points and 10.6 assists per game through 60 games before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit on March 11. He is in his 17th season in the NBA as is as much of a force as he’s ever been.

James came into the league as a 19-yar-old when he was the first pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the loaded 2003 NBA draft. He is a four-time Most Valuable Player and a three-time NBA champion. James, who won the Rookie of the Year back in 2003-04, is a 16-time NBA All-Star. For his career, he has averaged 27.5 points per game.

Bronny James handling the hype

Being the child of a superstar like LeBron James, it’s always assumed the child is under pressure to fill the shoes of their parent. In Bronny’s case, that would mean the 15-year-old would be under tremendous pressure as he plays in front of packed houses every game and is under tremendous media scrutiny. If Bronny’s feeling the heat, he’s certainly not showing it.

Playing for Sierra Canyon, a private school in Los Angeles, Bronny has become accustomed to playing in front of massive crowds. He’s a freshman who is constantly asked for his autograph and has ESPN televising his games. To most high schoolers, it might be overwhelming, but to Bronny it’s the norm. “He’s a great young man, he doesn’t let anybody faze him,” said teammate Ziaire Williams. “You’d be surprised all the stuff he has to go through. It’s not fair, but he doesn’t let it faze him.”

Bronny James is on a team that’s full of stars. Williams was the seventh-ranked player in the country, according to ESPN. B.J. Boston was sixth and is headed to play at Kentucky. Dwyane Wade’s son, Zaire, is also on the team. But everyone wants to see Bronny. He’s the show. “He’s a very normal kid, a very mature kid,” said Tarek Fattal, who covers Sierra Canyon for the L.A. Daily News. “Despite everyone wanting to be here for him, he understands it’s bigger than him.”

Could father and son ever play together?

When Bronny was 9 years old, he was already getting scholarship offers – sort of. “He’ll be on the recruiting radar, yes,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta joked in 2014. “No question about it. I need to offer him a scholarship.” In 2015, LeBron James said his son was being contacted by schools, offering scholarships. “It’s pretty crazy,” Lebron James said back in 2015. “It should be a violation, you shouldn’t be recruiting 10-year-old kids.”

In January, LeBron James was asked how it might feel if he and his son ever shared the same NBA court as professionals. “My son is in ninth grade, man,” James said. “We’re tryin’ to worry about what project he’s gotta turn in tomorrow, that’s what we worried about right now. That’s what’s most important: school, home, and being the best big brother he can be.”

In 2018, LeBron James did bring up the outside possibility that the two could play together. He said that would be his ultimate achievement as an NBA player and a father. “You want to ask me what is the greatest achievement of my life,” James said in an interview with UNINTERRUPTED. “If I’m on the same court as my son in the NBA. That would be No. 1 in my lifetime as an NBA player.”