LeBron James’ Ex-Teammate Asks Bronny James to Stay in School

Bronny James

Getty Bronny James of the USC Trojans looks on during a game on February 7, 2024.

Ever since LeBron James declared his intentions to play in the NBA with his son, Bronny James has been on the clock. Will the USC freshman stay in college for a sophomore year, or declare for the 2024 NBA Draft? Is he even close to NBA-ready? Those are the questions doing the rounds.

As the 2023-24 college basketball season draws to a close, the immediate future of Bronny has become a hot-button issue among NBA analysts and fans alike. On the February 26 episode of “NBA Today” on ESPN, Kendrick Perkins — a former teammate of James — advised Bronny to remain in school for another year, suggesting that his transition to the pros should happen organically.

“Do I think he needs to go back to school? Yes, I do,” Perkins said. “And when the time is right [to enter the NBA], let it happen naturally. We don’t want to force anything. We don’t want to force this young man’s livelihood or development so he can go pair up with LeBron… or whatever narrative we’re trying to push. Let the young man breathe.”

Perkins further advised James to bide his team and wait for his son to become a pro.

“I think ‘Bron has to be patient and that means he’s going to have to sacrifice,” Perkins stressed. “If that means he’s going to have to extend his NBA career, so be it. I think Bronny is going to make it to the NBA and he’s gonna have a hell of a career. But he’s not going to be his dad, and that’s okay. Let Bronny be Bronny.”

LeBron Unhappy With Narrative On Bronny James?

Perkins’ comments were spurred by ESPN’s latest 2024 NBA Mock Draft which projects Bronny to be drafted in 2025 rather than this year. While reacting to the projections on February 26, James lashed out at analysts for placing unnecessary pressure on his son.

“Can you all please just let the kid be a kid and enjoy college basketball,” James wrote in a now-deleted post on X. “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!”

James added, “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 don’t matter one bit! I promise you! Only the WORK MATTERS!! Let’s talk REAL BASKETBALL PEOPLE!”

Why Bronny Could Benefit From Staying in School

Although most current stars in the NBA took the one-and-done route, there are always exceptions. In recent years, New York Knicks All-Star Jalen Brunson — a product of Villanova — is a prime example of a player who bet on himself by staying in college for an extended period. During his three years in college, Brunson wasn’t highly touted by scouts, but that didn’t deter him from putting in the work and honing his craft.

Even after leading Villanova to two college championships, in 2016 and 2018, Brunson – an undersized guard – fell to the second round in the 2018 NBA Draft. Fast forward to five years later and Brunson is arguably a top-15 player in the NBA leading the Knicks to prominence for the first time since the Patrick Ewing era.

Perhaps Bronny could look to Brunson for inspiration.

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