by Alex Poletti
Photo by Nicholas Koza
Tuning in across the nation, fans of future NBA star LeBron James Jr. waited eagerly to see how the basketball legend’s son would fare under the bright lights of an NBA stadium in Dallas. Junior did not disappoint, putting up two points in a showing reminiscent of the second half of his father’s 2018-2019 season with the Los Angeles Lakers, when he was injured and couldn’t play.
“He’s truly his father’s son,” one fan in Dallas says. “The way that he bricked that three, the lack of hustle running up and down the court—that was vintage groin-injury LeBron.”
Bronny, a freshman at the prestigious Sierra Canyon School in Los Angeles, is not yet a starter for the varsity squad, but his name alone has the ability to draw fans. The starting five is one of the best in the nation, with two five star recruits in Kentucky commit BJ Boston and Ziaire Williams.
Almost halfway into the first quarter, though, James Jr. was given a chance to play. He received cheers from the crowd every time he handled the ball in the 66-63 win over Texas’s Duncanville High, but failed to make much of an impact.
“He sat on the bench for a lot of the game,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard, who was in attendance to watch the high school heavyweights battle, says. “He definitely gets that from his dad.”
Analysts are hesitant to compare Bronny’s performance to any of his father’s MVP seasons, but they willingly agree he played as well as no. 23 did for the Lakers in the second half of his first season in Los Angeles, when he didn’t play a single game en route to missing the playoffs for the first time in 14 years.
“Could he beat his father?” Stephen A. Smith unpromptedly asks himself of the Sierra Canyon frosh. “Maybe not right now. But if you give me Bronny against his pops when his injury was so debilitating that he couldn’t get up the court? That may even the playing field.”
There’s no doubt that the young James shows potential, but at 15, he still has a lot to learn. He has to do so under national scrutiny, however, as 12 more of his games will be broadcast on primetime television.
“There’s a lot of potential for this kid,” sportswriter Michael Wilbon says. “Right now, he’s got 2018-2019 LeBron comps. But if he continues to work hard, we could be comparing him to his father with a broken hand in the 2018 Finals. Who knows which injury-riddled LeBron this kid could end up embodying?”