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The Dad Scouting Report On Bronny James Has Arrived

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 7: Brice James, Bronny James and LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers talk during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on February 7, 2023 at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Bronny James has a looming dilemma: When is it the right time to tell the daddiest dad of them all to chill out and find a hammock? We're not there yet, mind you. After all, the hyper-precocious son of LeBron The First is still a year from even being drafted, which means he hasn't even told USC, Oregon, or Ohio State about the one year he plans to give to college, or what G-League team he'll start with before being picked 11th by the Charlotte Hornets. 

But before that happens, there is Pops already pumping up his son's draft stock in a way only this particular pop can do it:

It's downright adorable, LeBron as the doting stage father. One of the finest players in the history of the sport (you go have the arguments about who's what and who isn't quite, because we're not interested) is greasing his son's pre-draft rep by essentially declaring him better than an undetermined number of current players on some as-yet-unstated combination of the Hawks, Celtics, Cavaliers, Nuggets, Pistons, Pacers, Heat, Pelicans, 76ers, Blazers, Kings, and Raptors, because those were the 12 teams on League Pass last night.

OK, nobody on the Kings. Let's not lose all perspective.

This of course turbocharged the pundit train and made it Topic A on the arglebargle roundtable instead of the slumping Celtics, the self-immolating Memphis Grizzlies, or Harrison Barnes getting his third career technical foul for yelling "And one" on a no-called continuation foul. LeBron talking smack at unnamed future foes of his son—think of it!

Well, we did, and found it moderately amusing, but only moderately. There's nothing wrong with pumping your kid’s tires, but it is funnier when your pumps go out to one-seventh of the population of the United States. It doesn't make college coaches feel any differently about Bronny. It doesn't make pro scouts redo their reports back to the office on how Bronny compares to Shake Milton. It doesn't add pressure to the son because he's already been blessed with that as the entry fee.

What it does, though, is conjure up visions of LeBron sitting courtside in retirement acting every bit the over-involved father: smack-talking players he used to school personally and by name rather than by anonymous tweet, yelling for Bronny to tune up Stephen Curry or Giannis Antetokounmpo or Jayson Tatum or Nikola Jokic, even screaming at Scott Foster for missing a foul call on his son the way he used to scream at Scott Foster for missing a foul call on him. We even imagine him reprising his famed LeBron Agonistes pose off the no-call against the Celtics in late January that everyone found so theatrically overwrought.

And we wonder when Bronny will have to have the unpleasant chat with Pops. "Dad, I love you and all, and I appreciate the support, but all the other guys are making fun of me, and the referees are calling fouls on me when I'm not even in the game because you're on them so much. I can see Mom cringe every time you run down the court on our fast break. I want to go on the Chicago-Indiana-Detroit-Cleveland-Washington road trip without you on the charter chewing out the coaches for not running more iso for me. I want to earn my own technical fouls. I want Scott Foster to screw me on my own merits. How can I say this … I want you to buy a suite and watch from there."

And in that moment, LeBron will be like every other parent who couldn't separate their child's deeds from their own. It will be an existential moment like millions of others for parents who ruined Little League for their kids. It will be the moment when LeBron must, like all other parents, decide their child is an adult and can go 3-for-14 with two rebounds, five fouls, and eight turnovers on their own.

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