We’ve officially reached the “has the world gone mad!” stage of LeBron James Jr. coverage.
The eldest son of newly-signed Laker LeBron James, LeBron “Bronny” James Jr. receives more attention than most members of the USA TODAY Chosen 25. He’s a superstar of elite high school senior proportions, despite entering the eighth grade.
If that sounds absurd, just consider everything that happened during his AAU squad’s recent run to a USBA national title. It’s crazy, but it’s also reality. That, apparently, is also why at least one national sports betting outlet is already accepting wagers on where Bronny James will play in college, as reported by our Louisville Gannett partners at the Courier-Journal.
Let us briefly stop to consider all the ways this is preposterously foolhardy.
First of all, it’s highly likely James Jr. won’t attend college at all. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has already said the league is likely to revoke the so-called “one-and-done” rule that sends elite high school hoops recruits to college for a single season, then welcome them to the league with open arms. Dropping the one-and-done rule would allow James Jr. to head to the NBA after his high school senior season, saving his father one more year of grind on his body if the two legitimately hope to play together, or against each other in the league.
Still, for the sake of argument, let’s suspend our knowledge of the actual state of play and imagine Bronny James still has to spend a year on a college campus. Why wouldn’t Kentucky be considered a co-favorite?
LeBron James has never hidden his bro-lationship with Wildcats coach John Calipari. While Duke is considered the favorite to sign James Jr. by bookmaker.eu, that’s only because Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski coached LeBron on the U.S. national team. Why wouldn’t that have a real impact on where LeBron Jr. decides to play?
Furthermore, with the family now settled in L.A., wouldn’t it make more sense for LeBron Jr. to reinforce his roots at a California school (it would have to be USC or Stanford, because UCLA and Cal are Under Armour schools). Or perhaps he would choose to chase the college basketball legacy his father passed on at LeBron Sr.’s home-state school, Ohio State. After all, the Buckeyes have worn uniforms with LeBron’s Nike logo. Perhaps LeBron Jr. coming back to the Buckeye State would reinforce the family’s ties and commitment to Ohio.
For what it’s worth, all three of those schools are off-the-board choices for LeBron Jr.’s future, which either highlights that the bookmakers know something no one else does (always possible) or they greatly underestimate the influence sneaker companies have on college programs and athletes (they’re European, so this seems highly likely).
Put it all together, and what we have is a set of odds based on rampant speculation around an event which is unlikely to even occur because of operating changes in an American professional sports league, with even those odds overlooking a clear determining factor in a player’s decision which keeps three likely contenders out of the betting odds entirely.
That’s a mouthful, and it’s unlikely to ever happen. If anything, it’s reinforcement that the James family needs more space, even if it’s less likely than ever to receive any in Hollywood.