In the modern professional sports landscape, few stars shine brighter than LeBron James. While the forward does most of his work with the Los Angles Lakers, he isn’t a one-trick pony. King James also stars in movies, has a charitable foundation, and is a father to his three kids, Bronny, Bryce, and Zhuri.
In his role as a father, LeBron has had to make some tough decisions. One of those meant taking active steps to avoid Bronny had the same first love that he did as a boy.
LeBron James’ road to NBA stardom started on the gridiron
These days, we all know LeBron James as one of the best basketball players of all-time. Despite that reality, his first love was actually football.
During his difficult childhood, James found structure thanks to his football coach. LeBron’s physical gifts made him a natural on the gridiron; he played until his senior year of high school and could have gone to Ohio State, but ultimately decided to focus on basketball. It goes without saying that he made the right decision.
During his time at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, James’ basketball games became appointment viewing on ESPN. He went on to become the first-overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft; despite being tapped as the next Michael Jordan, LeBron seemed to be up to the task.
James has spent the past 17 seasons in the NBA and, while his game has changed a bit over the years, he’s still going strong. The forward has won three titles, four league MVP awards, and just about everything else that’s available. Whether you think he’s better than Michael Jordan or unfit to ties his sneakers, everyone can agree that LeBron will go down in NBA history.
LeBron James didn’t want his son Bronny to play football
In a 2009 New York Times piece, LeBron James referred to football as his first love. Despite that affinity for the game, he didn’t want his children, including Bronny, to follow in his footsteps and hit the gridiron.
“Only basketball, baseball, and soccer are allowed in my house,” LeBron told ESPN.com in 2014. “We don’t want them to play in our household right now until they understand how physical and how demanding the game is. Then they can have their choice in high school, we’ll talk over it.”
James wasn’t preoccupied with having his children turn into basketball stars, though. His decision came down to safety.
“It’s a safety thing,” he continued. “As a parent, you protect your kids as much as possible. I don’t think I’m the only one that’s not allowing his kids to play football, it’s just that I’m LeBron James, and it gets put in the headlines for no reason.”
Intentionally or not, Bronny James seems bound for basketball stardom
While LeBron might have had his children’s safety in mind, his decision seems to have had a secondary effect. His oldest son, Bronny James, seems to be following in his dad’s footsteps.
Although he’s only a teenager playing at Sierra Canyon High School, Bronny has plenty of talent. While he’s capable of throwing down dunks like his dad, scouts and teammates alike have been struck by his poise.
“I first saw him last summer and was struck by his poise and ability to navigate all the craziness around him,” Eric Bossi of Rivals.com explained in 2019. “That poise is still there, and Bronny has now grown to 6-foot-2, has a great frame, is a budding athlete, and has the game to play at the point or shooting guard position.”
While it’s too early to know if Bronny will even play in the NBA, let alone develop into a star, he’s definitely found a home on the hardwood. It looks like LeBron’s plan to keep his children away from football paid off.