Bronny James isn’t his father LeBron James yet. But the 16-year-old is a member of his high school basketball team and getting increased minutes as each game goes by. Bronny is improving rapidly, thanks to many advantages. But all kinds of children of privilege get a leg up. In basketball, you’re only as good as your game.
There’s good proof that Bronny is taking everything seriously. Just analyze the way he looks today, at 16 years old, compared to his dad when he was that age. This kid isn’t coasting on his name; he’s putting in the work.
Bronny James and LeBron James at 16
It doesn’t take much to prove that Bronny is built differently from his father — at least when they were the same age. Young LeBron was tall, clearly huge, and looking every bit the incredible young NBA prospect he already was at that point. But he was lanky back then, too. Before he built himself into the mountain of muscle he is today, his frame looked more like Kevin Durant’s.
Bronny lacks that natural lankiness. What’s more, he clearly put in work, building up muscle that could only come from an intense diet and workout program. He doesn’t have the same height (yet), but he’s making up for that with a different type of body. He looks more like a point guard, although his evolving game and rapidly changing body type could alter that in the end.
Why Bronny is built differently from his father
LeBron was a blockbuster star who made his mark based entirely on his play in high school. He was unknown before that, left to his own devices to keep his diet and exercise in check. No wonder he looked every bit the 16-year-old Akron, Ohio kid that he was, despite his size.
Bronny’s experience is as different as could be, as is his understated basketball career so far, as ESPN reports. Instead of LeBron’s star-making dominance of his often hapless young opponents early on, Bronny’s path has actually been tougher. He has to make his name in the midst of one of the strongest high school squads in the country.
Instead of getting his moments to shine, he has to earn his minutes as a freshman alongside the best Junior and Senior class athletes Sierra Canyon High School has to offer. And, as USA Today reports, there’s the matter of Bronny’s size. It’s inherently difficult to make your way as a smaller PG. LeBron had an easier time using his natural size and speed to muscle his way into a multi-use power forward style early on.
Will Bronny live up to LeBron’s legacy?
Regardless of the difficulties of getting shine at Sierra Canyon, Bronny is making an impact. He’s made pivotal plays and increased his playing time. After a short, minor controversy over being filmed smoking marijuana, he stepped away from the spotlight to focus on his game. His jump shot is already ahead of LeBron’s curve at the same age, as is his overall mental game.
Those good signs don’t point to Bronny literally being the next LeBron. Barring a late growth spurt, he’ll probably remain at PG. According to The Undefeated, if the two play in the NBA at the same time, it won’t be exactly like a Ken Griffey/Ken Griffey Jr. type of situation. Bronny simply doesn’t have the mysterious natural gifts that propelled his father to a star-studded, national-level event when he debuted in the NBA.
Griffey Jr. was one of the defining talents of his generation, a contrast to his journeyman father. Most scouts just don’t see Bronny pulling that off. But if Bronny’s best shot at making a permanent mark on the NBA is being the next Allen Iverson instead of the next LeBron James, could anyone possibly spin that as a bad thing?