Like Father, Like Son

(Photo by Jay LaPrete/AP)

LeBron Raymone “Bronny” James Jr. is one of the most famous sons on Planet Earth. He is the first born to the King and heir to the throne.

Bronny turned 17 last Oct. 6. Now a sophomore at Sierra Canyon School in L.A., he plays point guard and has set his sights on achieving a dream that’s never been done before: For father-and-son to play together in the NBA.

Sure, there have been plenty of fathers and sons in the league.

Before Klay Thompson, there was his dad Mychal, who helped the Lakers win two NBA crowns. Kobe Bryant’s dad Joe was a 6-foot-9 power forward who played from 1975 to 1991. His son would join the NBA five years after he retired. Bill and Luke Walton stood tall. You have Rick Barry and his sons Brent, Jon and Drew. And, of course, Dell, Stephen and Seth Curry.

But while the NBA, founded 75 years ago, has witnessed many such combos before, never has it seen one where both played at the same time.

Baseball has Ken Griffey Jr. and Sr. playing together for the Seattle Mariners in 1990. But never in the NBA.

Not until LeBron and Bronny.

This may happen as early as 2023 or 2024 after Bronny graduates from high school. Two years from now, Bronny will be 19 and his dad will be 39. (Bronny, the eldest, has two other brothers and a sister.)

Will James and James don the Lakers jerseys? That’s the plan, I’m sure, according to LBJ.

“That would be an unbelievable moment not only for myself but for my family, for everybody,” said LeBron, in a 2018 interview. “That would be pretty dang cool if I were able to be on the NBA floor with my oldest son.”

What are the odds of this happening? Very, very high. 

Barring a (knock-on-wood) career-ending injury, LeBron is expected to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the league’s all-time leading scorer and play until he’s 40. With Bronny, it’s certain that he’ll turn pro. This early, top collegiate teams (Kentucky, UCLA) are eager to recruit him.

And wouldn’t James & James be the sporting world’s biggest story? LeBron dribbles the ball for a fast break as he throws it up for an alley-oop by Bronny!

The question is: Is Bronny really that good or is it just hype?

LeBron (age 17), left; Bronny (age 16) and his friends

Wherever Bronny plays, fans ask for his autograph. ESPN broadcasts his team’s games. Bronny has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Gyms are packed to watch the 6-foot-3 guard with the number “0.”

I’ve watched YouTube footages of Bronny and he’s quick and athletic. He made his first dunk at the age of 13! Bronny got the brawny genes of his dad.

In his freshman year in 2020, although he averaged only 4.1 points in 15 minutes of play, he did score 17 points in one game.

“He’s a great young man, he doesn’t let anybody phase him,” said his former teammate Zaire 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.”

Being LeBron’s son is both a blessing and a burden. The pressure is immense and he will always be compared to his father. 

It all depends on Bronny.

As Paulo Coelho said: Every blessing ignored becomes a curse.

John Pages

By John Pages

I've been a sports columnist since 1994. First, in The Freeman newspaper under "Tennis Is My Game." Then, starting in 2003, with Sun.Star Cebu under the name "Match Point." Happy reading!

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