On February 18, 2002, LeBron James was coronated on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
King James. The Chosen One. Air Apparent. Lofty expectations to place on a 17-year-old.
Over 20 years later, James' son LeBron "Bronny" James Jr. is facing hype of his own.
Bronny James: LeBron's Superstar Son
The hype train took off when he was just a 9-year-old little kid. Colleges were already flirting with scholarship offers as he toured the AAU circuit. Thad Matta, the Ohio State coach at the time, joked:
"He'll be on the recruiting radar... I need to offer him a scholarship."
As he grew older, the attention swelled. He transferred to Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth, California in May 2019 to play with some of the best players in high school basketball. B.J. Boston, Ziaire Williams, Amari Bailey, and Zaire Wade have all shared the floor with the son of the biggest NBA star. Bronny's younger brother Bryce is also a sophomore on the team this year.
Bronny has been an essential piece of the Trailblazer's rotation at the point guard and shooting guard positions. Standing 6-foot-3 and growing, his poise, feel for the game, dunks, and smooth shooting stroke came through in clutch moments. As a freshman, Bronny had 15 points, including the go-ahead layup, against Akron-based St. Vincent-St. Mary — his father's alma mater. He was named the game's MVP.
Since, he's become a more dominant scorer. He drives with ferocity like his dad and even emulates his dad's signature dunk. But Bronny is a better shooter than his father was at his age. Back in October, Bronny dropped 31 points and went 6-for-7 from beyond the arc. Of course, LeBron gave him a shoutout on Twitter.
He's really H.I.M. Keep working Young ??!! https://t.co/XKo47Mhytc
— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 15, 2022
As an upperclassmen, the combo guard has assumed a more prominent scoring role. And naturally, the spotlight follows him wherever he goes. No spotlight was bigger than Sierra Canyon's recent game Christ the King, who Carmelo Anthony's son Kiyan plays for. LeBron and Savannah James along with Melo and Kiyan's mom LaLa are expected audience members, but other guests included Kim and Khloe Kardashian, radio host Big Boy, Kobe Bryant's eldest daughter Natalia Bryant, former "Basketball Wives" star Laura Govan as well as former NBA players Kenyon Martin, Nick Young and John Lucas III.
Scottie Pippen was also in attendance, as his son Justin Pippen plays for Sierrra Canyon too. All these celebrities just for a little high school basketball game. That's star power.
Bronny James' Offers Include Ohio State
Bronny finished with 12 points, six rebounds and three assists in Sierra Canyon's 62-51 win. Kiyan finished with eight points.
On the recruiting trail, Bronny is the 40th-ranked player in the 2023 recruiting class, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings. Rivals ranks him 61st. ESPN lists him at 34th. He has offers from Memphis, Ohio State and USC and interest from Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina and Oregon. My guess is that he ends up at Ohio State, seeing as it's the only school he's taken an official visit to.
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) September 6, 2022
North Carolina Central head coach LeVelle Moton offered the basketball recruit a scholarship in January 2020, per The Undefeated. As for when he might commit to a school, that's not expected until the spring, according to Forbes.
Recruiting experts say Bronny is developing his own identity as a player.
"Slowly but surely, Bronny James is starting to come into his own as a player on a loaded Sierra Canyon team. James' 6-foot-3 frame has filled out nicely and he's added some pop on drives to the rim through traffic or in transition. One of his strengths is his ability to make catch and shoot jump shots and he is a fantastic passer. James gives good effort on the defensive end where he plays with toughness and versatility. There are times where he can be a bit passive on the offensive end, but overall he has made positive strides as a junior," said Eric Bossi, a 247Sports Basketball Analyst.
The young basketball player's fame is only going to spread. His 6.8 million Instagram followers eagerly await his next post. Drake casually went to one of his games. Luckily, Bronny has a supportive dad well-versed in handling pressure at a young age in his corner along with his mother, brother Bryce, and sister Zhuri.
Naturally, he'll be compared to his All-Star father with every step fully-documented by the internet. We want to see what's next for our superstars, especially when their kids have the potential of Bronny. Likening father and son is easy, but it'll be intriguing to see how Bronny shapes his own identity. Their path could lead to sharing the NBA floor someday. If that happens, I'll take the Lebron guy on my team.
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