LeBron James and his high school sweetheart, Savannah Brinson, were still teenagers when they welcomed their first child a few months after James won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
They named him LeBron James Jr., but everyone soon called him Bronny.
Now 18 himself, Bronny James had nothing like the hardscrabble childhood of his father, the only child of a single mother in Akron, Ohio. Along with wealth and celebrity, Bronny grew up with two loving, involved parents and two younger siblings who formed a tight-knit family unit — dubbed “The James Gang” by its patriarch — as they moved from Cleveland to Miami to Cleveland to Los Angeles.
The scion of the top scorer in NBA history embraced his father’s sport, and he has thrived while earning accolades and opportunities far beyond any special treatment he might have received because of his famous name. He was a heavily recruited player at an elite Los Angeles high school, and he chose the University of Southern California two months ago for the next step in a career likely to extend to the NBA.
It’s too soon to know how that career will be affected by the cardiac arrest that sent James to a hospital earlier this week while he practiced with the Trojans, who are preparing for a 10-day exhibition tour through Greece and Croatia next month. He remains hospitalized.
James’ combination of his famous name and his own basketball skills have made him one of the most influential teenagers in American sports. He is a social media star with 7.5 million followers on Instagram, and that potential earning power gives him the top name, image and likeness valuation in sports at $6.3 million, as estimated by On3.com.
Bronny James has rarely given interviews, per his father’s wishes, and his infrequent social media posts are either guarded, as befits the child of a massive celebrity, or sponsored content. They also show a happy high school student who enjoys video games and family time, but also looks forward to attending college.
Three months after LeBron James broke Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s career NBA scoring record with the Los Angeles Lakers in February 2023, Bronny announced he would attend USC. He would stay near home, just two miles down Figueroa Boulevard from the Lakers’ downtown arena, but far enough to establish his independence while building his basketball skills for a shot at a lasting career in the NBA.
LeBron was overjoyed when his son chose to spend next year in college instead of an NBA preparatory professional team. While he said he wasn’t sure about some of his great-grandparents, James was reasonably sure Bronny would be the first person in their family lineage to attend a university.
LeBron also has said for years that he hopes to play in the NBA at the same time as Bronny, who wouldn’t be eligible for the league until the fall of 2024 at the earliest. LeBron would be in his 22nd season next fall, which would match the longest career in NBA history.
AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/lebron-james
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