Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has already accomplished so much in his legendary NBA career. While he still continues on his path to more championships, the 4-time MVP revealed his biggest goal—to be able to play long enough to share the court with his son, Bronny James.
“That would be an unbelievable moment not only for myself but for my family, for everybody. That would be pretty dang cool if I were able to be on the NBA floor with my oldest son,” James said in an interview in 2018.
Now, the thing is, there’s even more reason to think this now might happen, as LeBron James inked an extension with the Lakers, keeping him in Los Angeles for another two years.
While the league has employed multi-generational talents over the years, never has the NBA seen a father-son duo to actually play in the same season. LeBron James doesn’t just want to be the first one to accomplish the feat, he made it clear that he wants to share the floor with Bronny as teammates.
As crazy and exciting as this sounds, the stars must completely align for this to turn into reality.
The phenomenon is highly unlikely but has actually been done in professional sports before. Ken Griffey Sr. teamed up with his son, Ken Jr., with the Seattle Mariners in the 1990 MLB season.
James was only 19 when LeBron Jr. was born, and his son has been exposed to the league around the time he was still in diapers.
For sure, fans would love to see this happen as much as James does. However, there are several key factors for LeBron and Bronny to become the first-ever father-son tandem in the NBA.
Bronny has to make it to the NBA
First things first, Bronny has to earn himself a ticket to the big dance before he can keep up with his old man. While the 15-year-old phenom already has the amazing genes and paternal tutelage to help him succeed, his path to the NBA is still not a done deal.
Skills wise, the 6-foot-2 guard has already impressed for Sierra Canyon and looks to have a more refined skill set than LeBron had at his age. While his pops mostly relied on his speed, power, and unreal athleticism, Bronny appears to have better handles, a more finesse game, and still improving shooting skills.
One thing is for sure, Bronny can also jump off the roof like his father and has already shown glimpses of outstanding court vision and feel for the game.
At this point, it looks inevitable that Bronny will make it to the league and it’s only a matter of when and how high he will go on draft day. ESPN recently ranked him as the 24th elite prospect of the class of 2023.
LeBron has to still be around by then
While his consistent greatness shows otherwise, LeBron James is isn’t exactly a spring chicken. He is indeed a freak of nature and still hasn’t shown signs of slowing down anytime soon.
We’ve all heard the stories of how James spends a fortune in the offseason to keep his body in tip-top shape. He will need to continue sipping on that fountain of youth to have the slightest chance of playing with his son.
If Bronny does in fact reach the NBA by 2023, James will be 39 by then. Barring any significant injuries, there’s no reason why LeBron won’t be able to play past 40 like All-time greats Michael Jordan, Dirk Nowitzki, and Vince Carter. Also, knowing about the two-year extension now puts us at a place where this seems like he will for-sure be in the NBA in 2023.
However, don’t expect James to still possess the same superhuman abilities once Bronny makes it to the league.
What team will they play on?
James is under contract with the Purple and Gold for likely the remainder of his NBA career, barring some wacko trade.
LeBron, of course, has been the puppet master each time he enters free agency. The father-son tandem will likely be a package deal for teams looking to avail of their services. That said, now that he signed that extension, there might not be a free agency to be had, though LeBron James can leverage the Lakers to bring in Bronny James when he’s ready for the NBA.
James’ camp could come to an agreement to sign with the team that drafts his son. On the unlikely event that Bronny won’t get drafted, James could simply require whichever team he is on to sign his offspring.
The NBA must abolish prep-to-pro rule
This right here is the biggest hurdle that would prevent the two LeBrons from playing together in 2023. LeBron already publicly claimed that the NCAA is corrupt and would prefer his son to not play college basketball.
However, Bronny might be forced to do a one-and-done stint if the league won’t be able to remove its policy that prohibits prep players from going directly to the pros.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has already spoken against this rule and believes it will be abolished sometime around 2022.
“There are a bunch of issues that need to be worked through between us and the players association, so it’s something we’re in active discussions about,” he said.
In retrospect, having Bronny play alongside his father will be good for the league. The NBA will likely make a strong push to turn this into reality and get rid of that rule in time for Bronny’s arrival.