Shannon Sharpe warns LeBron James about Bronny support: ‘He gon’ get strays because of you’

Mike Battaglino
4 Min Read
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James took to social media to defend his son Bronny’s falling status in a recently revealed NBA mock draft, but ESPN analyst Shannon Sharpe said some of the blame for the criticism being directed at the young college player has to be shared by the Los Angeles Lakers superstar.

“The comparison was gonna be there,” Sharpe said of the father and son. “But LeBron has to be careful. When…Bronny plays well and then you say, ‘Well, he’s better than some players in the NBA.’ Because people are gonna remember you said that.

“And I understand, that’s his son. But you have to be careful of that. ‘Cause they like, ‘Hold on. Wait a minute. A high school kid is as good as players in the NBA?’

“You coulda said that about LeBron, that LeBron as a high school senior was as good as some players in the NBA. And you woulda been absolutely right. But because Bronny doesn’t possess his dad’s athleticism or his size, it’s different.

“He gon’ get strays because of you.”

Sharpe likely isn’t the only one who remembers the elder James using social media about a year ago to claim his son was better than some NBA players. In fact, at the time, Shaquille O’Neal backed James’ take, and well before that, Richard Jefferson actually said the younger James – as a high school senior in October 2022 — would be the second-best shooter on the Lakers.

Those takes don’t seem to have aged too well, with some other circumstances certainly contributing to the change in the younger James’ potential professional outlook.

The 19-year-old was once forecast by ESPN to be a first-round pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, but that was before he suffered a cardiac arrest which delayed the start of his collegiate career this season at the University of Southern California.

Based in part on that, his freshman campaign has not been what many envisioned from a highly touted recruit. Playing primarily as a reserve on a team with a current 11-16 record, the younger James is averaging 5.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in 19 appearances.

ESPN has moved him out of its projections for the 2024 draft and has him slotted as the No. 39 overall selection in its mock draft for 2025. In since-deleted posts on social media, the elder James clapped back.

“Can yall please just let the kid be a kid and enjoy college basketball,” he wrote. “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!”

The younger James may still declare for the 2024 draft, thereby opening the door for him to play in the NBA at the same time as his father. He also could choose to play another year before trying to enter the league. The Lakers reportedly are open to adding the younger James in an attempt to keep his superstar father happy.

No matter what the younger James decides, his dad undoubtedly will express his support.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.