Like any proud father, LeBron James was happy to take a seat in the auxiliary gym of Liberty High School on Wednesday to watch his son’s 13-and-under grassroots basketball game.
Flanked by a security team and his family, James came in through a purple door at the back entrance and took a seat on the baseline.
However, around 9:12 p.m., LeBron James left the gym, both teams cleared the floor and the game never tipped off.
This was due to a heated exchange between a security guard and one of the parents. Nicole Bankston, the mother of a player on the opposing team, Chicago-based Mean Streets, complained that other family members weren’t able to get in the gym.
The cancelation created problems for the event organizers who were trying to figure out a way to refund the $15 admission fee for those who paid to watch the game.
“The security got all up in people’s face, and I guess that’s how all the commotion started,” Bankston said. “I guess after that they took the teams out of the gym because of the commotion. That’s all it was. It wasn’t a fight.”
Once refunds were handed out, tensions calmed, and the night was left to be remembered as the night that LeBron James Jr. burst into the basketball mainstream. Though he’s yet to walk into an eighth-grade classroom, Bronny showed he has the drawing power that even transcends his father at this age. And not only that – his mix tapes have more than a half-million views, he led his team to a USBA National Championship in Charlotte last week and he also took an unofficial visit to Duke. Playing on a national grassroots circuit lends to inevitable attention.
“He’s the hottest thing in youth basketball right now,” said a grassroots official. “All the views and metrics back it up.”
So how good is he? Obviously, it’s unfair to compare him to his father, who is the best player in the world. The best way to view Bronny’s career arc is that he’s considered among the top-30 kids in his class right now, a status that transcends his famous surname.
There is no doubt that this kid has a bright future ahead of him. Thanks to the combination of his skill, genetics and growth opportunity, LeBron James Jr. has a chance to emerge as a high school star and potentially a McDonald’s All-America.