While NBA records are often meant to be broken, LeBron James has a unique ambition to keep a special place in the history books within his family. His desire is not limited to his own achievements but extends to his son, Bronny James. LeBron aims to share the basketball spotlight with his talented offspring. Bronny, at the age of 18, has made the decision to play the upcoming college season at the University of Southern California. This choice puts him on track to be eligible for the highly anticipated 2024 NBA Draft. By paving his own path in the sport, Bronny has the opportunity to continue the James lineage’s legacy in the basketball world.
Despite concerns over his age, 38-year-old James has spoken of his ‘need’ to share the court with his eldest child. And there’s a sense of confidence the four-time NBA champion could play to 40 (and possibly beyond) after helping the Los Angeles Lakers into this year’s Conference Finals.
“I need to be on the floor with my boy, I got to be on the floor with Bronny. . .either in the same uniform or a matchup against him,” James told ESPN in January. “But I would love to do the whole Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr. thing. That would be ideal for sure.”
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That remark is in reference to the father-son duo who both played on the same Seattle Mariners team between 1989 and 1991. Griffey Sr. and Jr. are also the only father-son pair to hit back-to-back home runs in a Major League Baseball fixture, which they achieved against the California Angels in September 1990.
But James hasn’t made his previous comments about playing alongside Bronny for effect. In the midst of the Lakers’ run to the Western Conference Finals, where they were blown away by eventual champions the Denver Nuggets, LeBron reiterated just how passionate he was about seeing his dream materialise.
“I was serious, and I’m still serious about it,” added James in May, rejecting any notion that his ageing will be an obstacle to prevent the team-up. “If my mind goes, then my body will just be like, ‘OK, what are we doing?’”
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It’s worth highlighting that despite his bloodline, USC commit Bronny isn’t nearly on the same level his father was as a prospect. James Sr. is routinely referenced as the most hyped-up Draft target of all time, forgoing college altogether and being recruited by his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers out of high school.
Point guard Bronny has seen his stock rise over the past year or so, but the former Sierra Canyon standout may not be Draft-ready come 2024. The 6’3″ starlet is expected to be one of the most valuable college athletes in the U.S. when he finally arrives in the NCAA pool, but his athletic talent is another matter entirely.
Even if the oldest member of LeBron’s brood wasn’t ready for 2024, there’s every chance James Sr. could wait another year judging by his performances this year. The NBA’s all-time points record-holder led the Lakers back into the NBA play-offs and started all 16 of their post-season games after making 54 starts in the regular season.
However things pan out, however, LeBron has made it clear he won’t pressure his son to follow in his footsteps: “My son is going to take his journey. And whatever his journey, however his journey lays out, he’s going to do what’s best for him. . .So, just because that’s my aspiration or my goal, doesn’t mean it’s his. And I’m absolutely OK with that.”
It may be that Bronny’s familial links are enough for an NBA team to invest in his potential and take a punt on the chance he’ll become a top-tier success.
That being said, there are many who feel James’ younger son, Bryce, is actually the more promising player of the two. The 16-year-old high schooler already stands at a reported 6’6″ and could be better-primed for the NBA when his opportunity arises.