LeBron James’ family didn’t know he wanted to play in the NBA with Bronny

  • LeBron James has repeatedly stated his goal of playing in the NBA with his eldest son, Bronny.
  • In an interview with Sports Illustrated, James’ family members said they were unaware of this goal until James said so publicly.
  • Bronny is a much-loved high school student, but his path to the NBA and to playing with his dad is still unclear.

In recent years, LeBron James has been pretty open about his desire to play in the NBA with his son, LeBron James Jr., who goes by Bronny.

However, for a time James’ family was unaware of this plan.

Bronny and James’ wife, Savannah, says Sports Illustrated’s Chris Ballard that they were unaware of James’ plan until he stated it publicly.

“No, we hadn’t talked about it,” Savannah told Ballard. “I mean, yeah, because obviously you ask boys what they want to be when they’re 10, 11. I want to be in the NBA. And I think it’s just something that was near and dear to LeBron’s heart.”

Bronny also told Ballard he was unaware of the plan, but called it “pretty cool”.

And James confirmed to Ballard that he had not discussed it with his family.

“We don’t even talk too much about the future,” James said. “I put it up because I like to talk to the basketball gods and see if things can come to fruition. I’ve always set goals in my career, talked to the basketball gods and they all listened. I hope they can listen to this last one too.

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What started as speculation has become more definitive in recent years.

In 2017, James told GQ he was unsure how long he wanted to play, but said he would “love” to play against Bronny – who was then in eighth grade.

“I would really love to stick around if my eldest son could get the opportunity to play against me. That would be, that would be the icing on the cake.”

Fast forward to February 2022, when James put it in more definitive terms to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic.

“My senior year will be played with my son,” James told Lloyd. “Wherever Bronny is, that’s where I’ll be. I’ll do whatever it takes to play with my son for a year. It’s not about the money then.”

Speaking to Ballard, James even hinted that he would stay in the NBA long enough to play with Bryce, his 15-year-old son and Bronny’s younger brother.

“I feel like I could play for quite a while. So it’s all down to my body, but more importantly, my mind. If my mind can stay sharp, fresh and motivated, then heaven’s not even not a limit for me. I can go beyond. But we will see.

LeBron James puts his arm around his son Bronny as Bronny holds a trophy in 2019.

LeBron James wants to play with Bronny.

Jay Laprete/AP Images

The way to get there is still a bit unclear. James recently signed a two-year, $97 million extension with the Lakers, but the second year has a player option. Thus, James will have the opportunity to become a free agent in 2024. Otherwise, he can become a free agent in 2025.

Bronny is a four-star recruit and has generally been ranked among the top 50 high school prospects, according to Ballard. The James family suggested to Ballard that Bronny might want to play college basketball. But then there’s the question of whether he’ll be good enough to be drafted by a team. As Ballard wrote: Would a team draft Bronny in an attempt to land LeBron?

Perhaps more importantly, James Sr. and Savannah say they didn’t pressure their boys to play basketball, saying the decision was entirely in their kids’ hands. Their daughter, Zhuri, 7, has shown no interest in basketball, the parents said.

“I always let them see if they had a love for [basketball]”, said James Ballard. “Because at the end of the day, nothing will come to fruition if you just do it because you feel like your parents are doing it. Nah, it’s going to die out too quickly.”

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