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Bronny James Lays Bare Realities of Being LeBron’s Son

2024 NBA Draft prospect, Bronny James (LeBron James Jr.)

Most people would figure that being the son of an NBA superstar is an amazing experience. When that player is LeBron James, sure the vitriol is coming from all directions, blotting the otherwise idyllic image. Nonetheless, with LeBron’s stature, success, and stateliness, there’s a certain prestige that comes with his hoops heritage.

That said, while people can imagine what it’s like being in that position, only few know. Fewer still understand the pressure of following in their footsteps.

Bronny James Lays Bear Realities of Being LeBron’s Son

In a one-on-one with Big Ten basketball analyst Robbie Hummel on SiriusXM NBA Radio, Bronny James opens up about what it’s really like being LeBron’s son.

“It’s tough,” he admits. “A lot of criticism gets thrown my way but I gotta deal with it. They don’t know what I’ve been through but I just try to make the best out of (the) opportunities that’s been given to me.”

 

Bronny Isn’t LeBron

James’ feelings are warranted. By the time he was old enough to start growing facial hair, NBA scouts were trying to see if James would be anything like dad.

Early on, this playmaking flashes quelled their thirst for a sign of a first class prospect. His comfort beyond the arc was particularly notable considering that 3-point shooting is his father’s greatest weakness in the halfcourt. However, by the time he was in high school, it became apparent that defense was his calling card.

Yet, the smallish guard wasn’t lighting up the scoreboard. By no means was he required to. Nonetheless, the vast majority of future All-Stars demonstrated an ability to consistently take over the game as scorers. James didn’t. As a senior, he averaged a career-high 14.2 points per game, more than 17 fewer points than LeBron averaged as a senior (31.6).

But alas, there go those pesky comparisons again.

Bronny isn’t LeBron. Though he may be following in his father’s footsteps, he’s not trying to be like him either. Not that it would make sense to, as he’s more than half a foot shorter and 40 pounds lighter than his dad.

This leads to the heart of the problem: Bronny isn’t respected for the prospect that he is because of the player that people want him to be.

Paging Mountain Mike

The need to categorize —to put things into neat boxes for perspective —is a very human one. Still, there are always anomalies and outliers. You can always count on something that transcend taxonomy.

As it turns out, James doesn’t fit an archetype.

He’s not necessarily a defensive specialist because of his upside on offense. Yet, despite early projections, he’s not a reliable enough 3-point threat to be a 3-and-D wing. Because his best offensive skill is his passing ability and overall feel for the game, he could play a similar role at point guard. Yet, he lacks the ball-handling ability to handle those duties full-time.

Among active players, James could play a role similar to Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Mike Conley. Though just 6-foot-0, he’s long been a valued starter because of his savvy, defense, and efficiency. Able to play off the ball, create shots for others, or get his own, he averaged just 11.4 points per game in the 2023-24 regular season.

While James has named a couple of players whose impact he admires, Mountain Mike may need to be the one he studies the most.

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