LOS ANGELES — LeBron James has had his basketball games air on live television ever since he was in high school. Once he debuted for the Cleveland Cavaliers, every play, decision, and quote has been a subject of comment, discussion, and speculation. We know LeBron’s business, we know LeBron’s friends, and perhaps, most intimately, we know his family.
The man known as King James has often willingly shared his broad spotlight with his family. We know them collectively as ‘The James Family,’ and we also know them individually. Aside from Lebron himself, the most notable family member is his first son, LeBron James, Jr., who goes by the moniker Bronny.
As an incoming freshman at the University of Southern California, Bronny James has been on the path to match the performance fans expect. Still, questions swirl; could a son of LeBron James ever live up to the hype? While his natural skills and physique don’t match his father’s, Bronny James continually improved his game each year throughout high school and now plays with top-tier effort on BOTH ends of the basketball court.
Will Bronny be as good as his father one day? Experts say that it is doubtful. Still, no matter, Bronny James has done enough in his own right to place him in a position where he and his father may do something that has never been done before: share an NBA court as father and son.
LeBron’s narrative has been one of records broken, and awards and championships won. Will the King from Akron stick around long enough to play with or against his son? This was the daunting narrative young Bronny James was eager to meet head-on, knowing that the pressure of fulfilling this prophecy rested predominately on his shoulders.
Unfortunately, today, that narrative is relegated to the sideline in light of yesterday morning news. Today LeBron is not the ‘1A or 1B to Michael Jordan.’ Today LeBron is not ‘The G.O.A.T.’ or ‘The King.’ Today he is simply a father. Similarly, Bronny James isn’t the young cub set out to live up to the hype while making his name. Today, Bronny is simply a son. The safety of this son and this family is paramount and trumps all else. Yesterday morning’s news of Bronny James’ cardiac arrest is a horrific reminder that no matter how high on the mountaintop you sit, you’re never entirely safe from potential tragedy.
Fortunately, Bronny James is in stable condition in the hospital. Fortunately, as was the case earlier this year with Damar Hamlin, the on-site medical staff was able to act quickly and help Bronny.
I sadly think back to my hometown of Merrick, NY, whenever I hear that a young person has suffered from a heart issue. When I was only in 5th grade, a student a year younger devastatingly passed away at a little league practice. I remember spending moments of my childhood reliving the tragedy of that day. As an adult, I reflect back and think of how the tragedy affected the whole town.
As a basketball fan, I want to see Bronny play at USC and beyond. As a human being and son, I want him to be happy, healthy, and in a position where he can continue to foster his extraordinary friendship with his father.
I don’t know LeBron, so I will not attempt to speak for him. I can only speculate that basketball is not on his mind right now. And regardless of what you think of him as a player, LeBron James is a dedicated father. Once again, prayers to Bronny James and the James family.