LeBron James on son Bronny after latest draft projection: ‘Let the kid be a kid’

Stanford v USC
Stanford v USC

LeBron James sounds like most parents of high school or higher-level athletes: Immensely proud but also wanting them to have the space to enjoy the experience and grow as people along the way. Finding that balance is a lot more challenging when the father is a global superstar and his son is a potential future NBA draft pick, both of whom are in a very bright spotlight.

Which brings us to Monday, when ESPN released its latest 2024 and 2025 NBA Mock Drafts, which moved USC's Bronny James out of the 2024 draft class to 2025, which drew a lot of reaction on social media. LeBron responded on X (formerly Twitter) with a now-deleted post that said:

"The work and results will ultimately do the talking no matter what he decides to do. If y'all don't know he doesn't care what a mock draft says, he just WORKS! Earned Not Given! And to all the other kids out there striving to be great just keep your head down, blinders on and keep grinding. These Mock Drafts doesn't matter one bit! I promise you! Only the WORK MATTERS!! Let's talk REAL BASKETBALL PEOPLE!"

Those mock drafts don't matter to teams, they have their own scouting staffs and draft boards, they are putting in the work to make their own decisions (some just do that much better than others). Those mocks are for the fans — they are immensely popular, drawing a lot of eyeballs and generating a lot of content across platforms. They exist for that reason. The players on those draft lists get caught up in the conversations around the mocks.

To be fair, the ESPN mock draft's thoughts on Bronny follow the conventional wisdom around the NBA right now: Bronny is a well-liked, hard-working, high IQ, interesting prospect as a defender and shooter, but someone coming off a cardiac arrest last summer that maybe set back his development. The 6'4" guard has work to do to reach his NBA potential and is seen as a player who would benefit from another year or two in college. Bronny averages 5.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game on an 11-16 USC team not headed to the NCAA Tournament (barring a surprise Pac-12 Tournament run).

That said, if Bronny entered the 2024 NBA Draft he almost certainly would be selected (likely in the second round by a team hoping they could lure LeBron to come), and very possibly by the Lakers to keep LeBron happy.

Bronny has a decision to make about his path forward in consultation with his father, his mother Savannah, and his advisors at Klutch Sports. LeBron and Savannah want what all parents want: what's best for Bronny. Not what they want for him but what he wants and how they can support him in reaching those goals. (I empathize with LeBron here from the perspective of a parent of two high school athletes — though different sports and not near that same level. You want to help and protect your child, but they must choose their own path. We've had those "where do we go" family conversations, and it's not always clear or easy, especially for the parents.)

Whatever path Bronny chooses you can be sure it will generate a lot of conversation. Hopefully, he can tune it all out and just find his lane, be happy, and enjoy playing high-level basketball wherever it is. You can be sure LeBron will be proud and is not done posting about his son on social media.