Lakers Draft Bronny James

July 1, 2024

History is in the making this week (as of this posting) in the NBA. If things work out, hoops GOAT LeBron James could really, actually play with his son Bronny on the same floor for the same team when the next NBA season tips off in the fall.

In the recent NBA draft, the Los Angeles Lakers selected Bronny James – yes, son of LeBron – in the second round.  The younger James was named a McDonald’s All-American as a senior in high school in 2023, and then went on to play a year for the USC Trojans. Draft analysts gave him a strong four-star rating, pre-draft.

Not surprisingly, picking up James in the second round raised eyebrows across the basketball universe. As one social post put it, “Nepotism? Of course. Who cares?” Did LeBron push the team to grab his son? Well, there’s no official word, but we’re guessing the answer was a definite yes. Nepotism or not, we think the idea of a father-and-son playing on the same team is a pretty cool idea. And if it happens… It will definitely be an NBA first. 

On his most recent edition of The Big Podcast with Shaq, the former Lakers superstar offered his thoughts on the selection. Those thoughts were both positive and not-so-much. Still, it seems O’Neal has a close relationship with the younger James. At one point on the podcast, Shaq called him his “nephew.”


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Not surprisingly, Shaq talked about how much press and publicity the move is getting. Shaq says Bronny may have a struggle – but also has little choice – but to try to “live up to” what his father has done before him. 

Shaq: “I would like the scrutiny to get off of Bronny James, my nephew. He’s a kid, great kid. All he wants to do is play. It’s unfortunate that kids like ours have to live up to what we have done. I tell my kids all the time, pressure is when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from. You don’t have to be me. I want you to be better than me. I’m not talking about as a player but as a person.”

Interesting that Shaq talked about being better “as a person” and not necessarily as a player. O’Neal said he feels some sympathy for Bronny, noting the overwhelming amount of press coverage he’s been subject to, even though he’s only 19 years old. Shaq noted that “as a kid, they want to make it for themselves.”

Shaq wants to be sure Bronny – and any other young man following his father with a sports career – makes their own mark. “Like all that’s unnecessary, kid’s 18, 19 years old. I hope he gets drafted. I hope he makes it, and I hope he can do it on his own,” O’Neal said. “One thing that would be a bad look is them saying you know you only made it because of your daddy. You know as a kid, they want to make it for themselves, and he will.”

Shaq wasn’t the only one talking about the younger James being drafted by the Lakers. On his podcast, Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green also had words of encouragement, saying Bronny James “Is going to end up being a better pro than a lot of these players in the draft.”

More from Green: (He) “has the athleticism, has the basketball IQ, plays the game the right way. I think he’s going to be a good shooter in the NBA… He has LeBron James’ DNA, and I’m going to take the bet on that.”

As mentioned, the move to draft the younger James is already making NBA history. In making the selection, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka talked about how “magical” that relationship will be with the team. “In the history of the NBA, there’s never been a father and a son that have shared an NBA basketball court, and that feels like something that could be magical.” 

Pelinka is the team’s Vice President of Basketball Operations. “We know and have to respect of course that LeBron has a decision on his opt-out … but if it worked out that he was on our team next season, NBA history could be made. And NBA history should be made in a Lakers uniform.”

The Lakers definitely need to make some moves and upgrades in the off season, after a disappointing year, finishing as the seventh seed in the Playoffs and losing in the first round to the Denver Nuggets. This coming season will be the first for incoming coach JJ Redick who might also have a spot in the history books, as the coach in charge of the league’s first father-son duo. Of course there’s one big catch to all those. Bronny James has to make the team and secure a roster spot. Going to be an interesting summer! 

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