Everything You Need to Know About Bronny James
Bronny James is not your average celebrity child. Born LeBron Raymone James Jr., he's the oldest son of NBA superstar LeBron James. And now LeBron James Jr. is known mostly as Bronny.
From the moment he laced up basketball shoes, Bronny James has had the enormous pressure of a famous last name and the huge expectations that go with being a genetically gifted offspring. But Bronny is doing something most kids of pro athletes never do.
The 17-year-old Sierra Canyon High School basketball star/professional gamer has become one of the most recognizable teenagers in the world and found a way to escape the shadow of his famous father at a young age.
Who Is Bronny?
If you ask someone 25 years old and younger to explain who Bronny James is, you might get a confused look. That's because they would only know him as Bronny. No last name needed.
That's one of the more amazing things about this whole thing. There are a plethora of famous children that are teenagers and in their early 20s right now. They all have spent their whole lives in the public eye.
Only one of them, as far as we can tell, goes by a mononym. And that's Bronny.
One Very Famous Father
Few young basketball players ever captured our imagination the way Bronny's dad did. LeBron James was playing in nationally televised games on ESPN by the time he was a junior at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio.
The 6-foot-9 guard/forward was selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2003 NBA draft directly out of high school — a seemingly predestined pick by his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.
In the 19 years since he began playing, James has somehow delivered on that promise, winning four NBA championships for three different teams, four NBA Finals MVP trophies and four NBA MVP trophies.
He's also become very rich and very, very famous. Forbes estimated LeBron's net worth at $850 million in 2021.
The World Meets LeBron James Jr.
LeBron James was only 19 years old and in his second season in the league when he and his high school girlfriend, Savannah Brinson, had their first child, LeBron Raymone James Jr., on Oct. 6, 2004, in Cleveland, Ohio.
LeBron James had just started his sophomore campaign with the Cleveland Cavaliers and was a few months away from being named an NBA All-Star for the first time. He's made 18 consecutive All-Star teams, meaning he's been an All-Star every year Bronny has been alive.
The First of Three James Siblings
Bronny was the first of three children born to LeBron and Savannah James. Younger brother Bryce was born three years later, in 2007, and younger sister Zhuri was born in 2014.
Bryce's name has the coolest backstory. His full name is Bryce Maximus James, with his middle name coming from the slave turned gladiator Maximus Decimus Meridius played by Russell Crowe in the 2000 film "Gladiator." Crowe won the Academy Award for Best Actor for the role.
Famous Father, Famous Godfather
Not only does Bronny have a famous father, but he also has a famous godfather — Phoenix Suns All-Star point guard Chris Paul.
Paul, a 12-time NBA All-Star, became friends with LeBron James when both played in the 2003 McDonald's All-American Game, and Paul followed LeBron to the NBA two years later, when he was drafted No. 4 overall by the New Orleans Hornets.
One Thing That's Relatable: Having to Move for Work
One thing that's somewhat relatable about Bronny's life growing up was that, like a lot of kids, he had to move quite frequently because one of his parents changed jobs.
In this case, it was LeBron James switching jobs as a player for the Cleveland Cavaliers to a player for the Miami Heat in 2010, when Bronny was 6 years old. Then LeBron went back to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, when Bronny was 10 years old.
Another move came again, in 2018, when Bronny was 14 years old, and his father left the Cleveland Cavaliers to play for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Famous by the Fourth Grade?
There is no more blurred line in sports fandom than when it comes to picking out the top prospects in any given sport at the youngest age possible. Everybody wants to say they saw the next big thing before anyone else.
Finding out information about LeBron James Jr. (before he was known as Bronny) was somewhat of an obsession for basketball fans early on. One video of highlights of Bronny playing for his fourth-grade AAU team racked up almost 8 million views on YouTube.
Scholarship Offers in Elementary School
When former Ohio State men's basketball coach Thad Matta joked in 2013 that he needed to offer a scholarship to 9-year-old Bronny, basketball fans understood that in that joke, there was a nugget of truth. Why wouldn't he?
LeBron James said that by the time Bronny was 10 years old, a handful of colleges had already offered his son a scholarship — something he was 100 percent against.
"It should be an (NCAA) violation," LeBron said. "You shouldn't be able to contact kids when they're that young."
Main Man by Middle School
Hardcore basketball fans around the country knew who Bronny was by middle school. Around the same time, LeBron James said he regretted naming his oldest son after him because of the pressure it might put on him.
Little did LeBron know, Bronny was charting his own path. By the time LeBron joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018 and enrolled his son at Crossroads School in Santa Monica, California, there was a full-on online obsession with his future, thanks in no small part to his zigzagging the country on the AAU circuit.
Bronny Meets the World on Instagram
If you want to point to one giant leap forward in Bronny's fame, it's when he joined Instagram and got a big shout-out from his father. Dad did not let his son get on the social media picture sharing app until May 2019, the spring before Bronny's freshman year at Sierra Canyon School in Chatsworth, California.
Less than three years later, in March 2022, Bronny's Instagram account has 6.1 million followers. It was also here where he began to create his own identity.
"I had always called him Jr.," LeBron said. "He chose to go by Bronny. That wasn't me, that was him. And that's what he's become known as."
Heralded High School Debut
If there was ever a place where Bronny wouldn't stand out, it's at Sierra Canyon School — a K-12 school that caters to the children of the rich and famous and comes with a tuition price tag somewhere between $40,000 and $70,000 per year for boarders.
Bronny joined a basketball team at Sierra Canyon that had 15 games scheduled to be televised on ESPN before his freshman season even began. It also had a pair of five-star recruits with Brandon Boston and Ziaire Williams and another child of an NBA star in Zaire Wade, the son of Dwyane Wade, his father's former teammate.
Blast From the Past: Facing SVSM
Much of the nation got their first look at Bronny James in live action during his freshman season at Sierra Canyon in a nationally televised ESPN game on Dec. 14, 2019. The game was against his father's alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, in front of almost 20,000 fans at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Bronny, like his father, showed he has a flair for the dramatic in Sierra Canyon's 59-56 win, coming off the bench to score 15 points and hitting the go-ahead layup on the way to earning game MVP honors.
Bronny would be the only player on Sierra Canyon's roster to play in all 34 games that season, although the school's bid for a third straight CIF state championship in the Open Division was cut short by the pandemic.
Sierra Canyon Gets Its Own TV Show
If you wanted to know exactly how much interest there was in Sierra Canyon and Bronny James, look no further than the fact there was a reality TV series made about the team. ESPN offshoot Uninterrupted produced the series "Top Class" for the IMDb Network .
The easiest way to watch the show is probably on Amazon Prime, which has the IMDb Network and has both seasons of "Top Class" currently available, although Bronny is much less prominent in the second season as he recovers from a knee injury.
Bronny Lands on Sports Illustrated Cover
Bronny became the second member of his family to land on the cover of Sports Illustrated before they graduated from high school. LeBron James was on the cover of one of the most iconic SI covers of all time as a junior in high school.
Bronny made it onto the cover of SI alongside Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and members of the FaZe Clan, a group of esports professionals who Bronny joined in the summer of 2021.
For the uninformed, esports professionals are people who play video games for a living, and Bronny goes by the gamer name FaZe Bronny when online.
LeBron and Bronny as Teammates?
Bronny is part of the Class of 2023, and the 6-foot-3 combo guard is ranked as a Top 50 national recruit. At the 2022 NBA All-Star Game, LeBron James openly stated his desire to play his final NBA season alongside his son.
Bronny is currently a four-star recruit across all of the major recruiting services, but there's no indication what direction he's leaning toward as far as a college decision. The only known offer he has right now is from the University of Kentucky.
"Wherever Bronny is at, that's where I'll be," LeBron said.
If that were to happen, LeBron would have to be in his 22nd season in the NBA, and that's assuming Bronny is in the NBA at the earliest moment possible. He has one more year of high school, must play in college, overseas or the G-League for one year before he's NBA draft eligible.