“More than a game” Part 2? Will the pressure from media attention crush Bronny?

Andrew Hart, Herald Reporter

The year is 1999. LeBron James is a 15-year-old freshman at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, where he has just helped the team win the state tournament. The buzz around James, who averaged 18 points per game as a freshman, is certainly present but nowhere near the height it would reach in the following years. 

Fast forward to 2020. 15-year-old freshman LeBron James Jr., otherwise known as “Bronny,” has captivated a national TV audience on ESPN, and gained a social media following that spans across the globe. 

 

But with widespread attention, there is often an influx of hate that comes along with it. On Jan. 20, a fan was ejected from the gym Bronny was playing in, after throwing a piece of trash at the player while he was inbounding the ball. 

It is interesting to note that Bronny’s first nationally televised game came in his freshman year, instead of his senior year as his father experienced. There is speculation as to whether the drastic increase in social media usage in today’s age is the driving force behind such early fame. 

 

Could it be the fact that he inherited the name LeBron James Jr.? It is likely one of the most recognizable names on this planet. In the end, it leaves fans asking the same question: is this the beginning of a norm for Bronny?

 

“I just think it’s disrespectful of the fans for throwing objects at players in general. I agree with the fan being kicked out of the game [for throwing trash], not just because it was at Bronny,” said sophomore Jenya Medvedev.  

 

Medvedev thinks this is the beginning of a long trail of hate.

 

“I think Bronny Jr. is going to experience way more harassment than that further down the road in his career.”

 

Despite potential harassment, some believe he might perform better because of it.

 

“I think he will play even better because of that. He’s just going to understand all the harassment that was directed at his dad is also directed at him. Just because people don’t like Bron means people don’t like Bronny. It’s sad,” Medvedev said. 

After a Lakers game on the same day, the media asked LeBron about what transpired with his son.

“He’s cool and calm. He’s better than his mom and dad,” James said.

 

This response was somewhat reassuring, given the scrutiny James has received throughout his years in the spotlight.    

Bronny currently garners a social media following unlike any other high school athlete today. He has 4.2 million Instagram followers.

 

Despite the suffocating attention he receives at such a young age, he has remained poised and been able to block out the noise very well for someone his age. Will he be able to endure what the media has in store for him, not only in high school but beyond?

 

Only time will tell.