The Untold Truth Of Bronny James

In 2002, LeBron James landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated when he was still in high school. His story was titled "The Chosen One," which should give an idea of just how big of a deal LeBron was during his teenage basketball years. Then in 2022, things came full circle for the man called King James, because he was seen on a Sports Illustrated cover with his two sons, Bryce James and Bronny James, for a story titled "The Chosen Sons."

As for Bryce, his hoop skills began getting a lot of attention after a 2022 highlight video made the internet rounds, which is something that his older brother knows a lot about. Bronny's play has been talked about since he was a small child. Of course, having the last name James helps with that since LeBron is an NBA legend and one of the most famous athletes in the world, but it's not just that. Experts of the game have called Bronny a gifted player and as of this writing, he's a four-star college prospect.

Sure, much has been said about his basketball skills but when did all of the hype begin? Furthermore, what else is Bronny into besides basketball, and what does his famous dad think about everything that's being said about his eldest son? The untold truth of Bronny James answers those questions and beyond. So let's begin.

Bronny James' hoop skills went viral early

The year was 2014. LeBron James Jr., aka "Bronny," was not yet ten years old when he hit a mid-court shot with one hand. He sank the impressive basket while shooting hoops on the Cleveland Cavaliers' practice floor with his dad, LeBron James. After the NBA star launched the first mid-court shot, Bronny followed. And the incredible moment was captured on camera. 

Understandably, said clip of the shot went viral. In it, the youngster can be seen using a half hook-shot, half football throw to make the basket. After sticking the landing, he then smiled and walked calmly around the court like his shot was no big deal. Bronny's dad also reacted casually, as if his son made those kinds of baskets all the time. Eventually, the video caught the attention of some college coaches, including former Ohio State Buckeyes coach, Thad Matta, who according to The Lantern's Eric Seger, said he'd be keeping a close eye on Bronny. From that point on, Bronny's basketball play would be a constant topic of discussion around the sports world.

He wasn't allowed to have a cell phone

When LeBron James played his rookie year with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003, his starting salary was over $4 million, and his income has only skyrocketed from there. Given his family's fortune, one might assume Bronny James has always had access to every gizmo and gadget he could ever want, but that is not exactly the reality. As LeBron told Sports Illustrated in 2016, he forbade his then-11-year-old from having a cell phone. The future Hall of Famer didn't go into detail about his decision but suggested that he wanted Bronny to stay innocent for as long as possible. "He's lucky. He gets to grow up slower than I did," said the four-time NBA champion. There was already so much buzz about Bronny by that point, so it stands to reason that LeBron wanted to build a protective wall between him and coaches from AAU, high school, and college who might've contacted him about playing for their future team.

Now, that's not to say Bronny never got a cell phone of his very own. As Sports Illustrated noted in their dispatches from the 2022 Nike Elite Youth Basketball League Peach Jam, LeBron's oldest son was spotted looking at his mobile device while sitting on the stands.

Bronny James' choice of schools made headlines

With Bronny James being on the radar of coaches and basketball pundits as a preteen, it was big news when he chose to go to Santa Monica's Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences to play hoops in the eighth grade. Crossroads is a private, highly exclusive, and seriously pricy institution. According to Los Angeles Magazine, tuition was at $45,761 in 2021.

What's more, the school's alumni list is studded with stars. As TMZ noted in 2018, Shaquille O'Neal's son Shareef O'Neal, who's another basketball standout, went there, as did former NBA player Baron Davis. Celebs like Kate Hudson, Maya Rudolph, and Gwyneth Paltrow also walked the halls of Crossroads in their younger years.

At the time, it was easy to assume that Bronny would suit up for varsity ball once he completed eighth grade since Crossroads goes from K-12 but that wasn't the case. Instead, it was reported that he, as well as his younger brother Bryce James, would be attending Sierra Canyon School in Chatsworth, California. The Los Angeles Times reported that LeBron and Savannah James felt Sierra Canyon was the right move for their sons' basketball careers. Plus, Bronny joined Zaire Wade on the team. Understandably, former teammates Dwyane Wade and LeBron were thrilled to see their sons play together. Per Lakers reporter Kyle Goon, Dwayne told reporters in 2019, "I think it's gonna be cool. ... We look forward to being on the sideline and cheering them on like they did us for so many years."

Bronny James often impresses his dad

When it comes to parents watching their children's sporting events, one could say there are two types. On one side of the coin, there's the parent who remains stoned-faced in the stands and doesn't scream, cheer, or clap. Ostensibly, they are taking mental notes of their child's play to provide some pointers later on. Then, there's the parent who can't contain their excitement and become the biggest cheerleader at the game, then on social media. LeBron James seems to fit in the latter category.

In 2019, LeBron shared a photo of Bronny James about to dunk on an opponent. Notice though, although LeBron bragged about his son's skills a bit, he still showed some humility regarding his skills. "It's starting to get scary people!! We ain't there but one thing about it We Working to get there and beyond! #YoungKing #Bronny," wrote LeBron on Instagram.

He tweeted something similar in 2022 after Bronny had a monstrous game in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League, racking up 28 points, including 5 three-pointers, per Fadeaway World. And just like LeBron did in that 2019 tweet, he highlighted his son's play without seeming to gloat. "We just working! Stay low and stay locked in!" tweeted King James.

Bronny James has to deal with negative attention

So, let's run down some of the positive things that could be associated with having LeBron James for a father: First, Bronny James and his siblings have a live-in coach who some have called the greatest to ever touch a basketball. Two, if they wanted to, the kids could take advantage of any contacts their dad has as they move closer to their careers. Now the negative side: Perhaps there are a lot of people who resent LeBron James' kids for being privileged and famous. Maybe that's why such a big fuss was made after Bronny was apparently seen smoking something in a video. Some publications posited that it was marijuana but that was never substantiated. 

What's more, LeBron thought resentment was the reason that someone threw an orange peel at Bronny during a game at the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 2020. "Hating has no age limit!" wrote LeBron. "#JamesGang is build for it and well equipped. As we proceed." 

He also posted a message to Bronny about the orange peel incident. "Know I got your back and front throughout it all! I'd die for you and your siblings," wrote LeBron. "Never waver no matter what disrespect, hate, envy, jealousy, etc comes your way! Only push forward and continue to be the great kid/young man/person you are! Love you kid!!  #JamesGang." Later, a small child apologized for throwing the orange peel and said it was to get Bronny's attention since he admired him so much. 

His dad regrets making him a junior

What's it like for Bronny James since he plays basketball and has a dad who's accomplished so much in the sport? Does the young star feel any type of pressure? Did he develop a need to match his father's skills over time? It's a question that former late-night host Jon Stewart asked LeBron during the premiere episode of the NBA player's HBO show "The Shop."

"I still regret giving my 14-year-old my name because of that [potential pressure]," LeBron told him. "When I was younger I didn't have a dad. So my whole thing was, like, whenever I have a kid, not only is he going to be a junior, I'm going to do everything that this man didn't do."

Before that episode, LeBron spoke about his father Anthony McClelland not being in his life, and how his mother Gloria James had him when she was 16 years old. It was something that he also addressed in a 2014 Instagram post while writing a message to his dad. "Because of you Pops! Thanks all along. Could have said why me with u not being there but look what I made of myself," stated LeBron

His highlight videos already get a lot of attention

In 2014, when Bronny James was 10 years old, LeBron James shared a highlight reel of his pride and joy playing for the AAU team the Gulf Coast Blue Chips. Right away, the video sparked a buzz on and offline, while it showed that Bronny had real on-the-court talent. But the chatter over that video was nothing compared to a 2019 highlight clip titled "King's Blood" that Bronny shared himself.

The video showed him making all kinds of nifty plays, like giving no-look passes — just as his famous father does — using a vicious crossover dribble, and dunking. Later, one Twitter user said that Bronny had massive shoes to fill because of his dad, but LeBron saw it another way. "Tough mixtape!! But know only shoes he has to fill is his own," tweeted the NBA superstar.

From the outside looking in, it seems that King James is the perfect protector for Bronny, having been a person whose basketball skills were written about and analyzed since his high school days at St. Vincent–St. Mary High School in Ohio.

He's a TikTok and Twitch star

Bronny James isn't only a star on the court — he's a TikTok and Twitch star as well, having 5.6 million and 603,000 followers on those platforms respectively. On his TikTok page, Bronny can be seen doing basketball things, which shouldn't be surprising, like playing on a toy hoop with his brother Bryce James. But a good deal of Bronny's clips show him doing normal teenage stuff, such as hanging out with his friends, dancing, and spending time with his family. And on Twitch, he's an active gamer, immersing himself in games like Warzone, NBA 2K, and Fortnite.

As Sports Illustrated reported in 2020, Bronny joined the pro e-sports team FaZe Clan. He, as well as his teammates, made the cover of Sports Illustrated the following year. According to The Washington Post, the young hoop star won't be paid for playing with the squad, as he uses the opportunity to strengthen his social media presence. Reportedly, Bronny received 77,000 Instagram followers after joining the team so his plan seemed to work.

"It's important to point out Bronny isn't 'signed' to FaZe Clan," the team's head of communications Chelsey Northern clarified in an email to the Washington Post. "He does not have a contract with FaZe Clan. ... It's an organic relationship between the talent [within FaZe] and Bronny." So it doesn't look like Bronny will be trading in his basketball for a joystick anytime soon. At least not permanently. 

Bronny James had to get knee surgery

A lot of pro basketball players end up getting knee surgery, which could stem from simple wear and tear considering most have probably been playing since childhood. Bronny James, on the other hand, had to get knee surgery in his sophomore year of high school. ESPN reported that he tore his meniscus at a Sierra Canyon School  practice, which he later told his Twitch followers about. At the time, Bleacher Report showed that Bronny was ranked number 25 on the United States' list of top college recruits, and as of this writing 247Sports shows him at number 45. Eric Bossi, 247Sports' national basketball director, explained to CBS that a knee injury was not what caused Bronny's number to drop. 

"When Bronny was first ranked in September 2020, we were in the middle of a pandemic and there was probably never another time where players had been seen less for that first ranking," said Bossi in August of 2022. "Now, we've seen the Class of 2023 much more and the pool of players from which we are ranking has grown considerably. I think he's kind of on the same path he's been on for a while. He goes for stretches and games where he just kind of blends in and then has some really promising performances, and personally I feel being ranked somewhere in the top 50ish range is appropriate for him at this point."

He might've chosen Ohio State University

For the most part, Bronny James has sat back and let others come up with theories as to where he'll play college ball. But in September of 2022, he took a different approach by posting photos of himself in an Ohio State University jersey. His parents LeBron James and Savannah James were in one of the pics as well wearing OSU t-shirts. "Buckeye nation? #notcommitted," Bronny captioned the images. 

Days before the post, Bronny and his dad were seen watching an OSU football game, which sparked online talk about him possibly playing basketball for the school. But obviously, that chatter grew louder after Bronny shared the photos. "We would welcome you with more than open arms," one person wrote in the comments. "Idk if it means anything but just know the whole city would be at your games bro," wrote someone else. Plus, after the photos were posted, OSU reconfirmed their scholarship offer to Bronny.

Of course, Ohio State fans will be all eyes to see if LeBron's son will become a Buckeye or not. If he does, the stands will most likely be packed, like that one commenter stated because remember, LeBron is from Akron, Ohio, and Bronny was born in Cleveland.