Looking to see bona fide basketball celebrities? Forget the NBA playoffs. The youngest bracket on the Nike EYBL circuit is the place to be.
Sure, EYBL has been a hot spot for all the top collegiate coaches for years, for obvious recruiting reasons. Want to see Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, Kansas coach Bill Self, former NBA All-Star turned Memphis coach Penny Hardaway and current Wizards star Bradley Beal in the same place? The EYBL circuit is the place for you.
But now, it’s more than just the players who sponsor teams themselves. Sure, Beal, Elfrid Payton and even Chris Paul will be at tournaments when they aren’t on the court in the playoffs themselves, but now the likes of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade are likely to show up near the court in the stands, too.
The reason? The rise of celebrity sons who have come of age. While Zaire Wade may be the original trendsetter in drawing the elite of elite basketball celebs, it’s LeBron “Bronny” James Jr. that has taken things to a new level.
Over the past four days, Bronny James games have drawn Anthony, Wade, the aforementioned Coach K and numerous others. Here’s the proof:
Yes, Bronny is worthy of attention, but it’s impossible to believe that all the eyes he’s been landing at EYBL events are warranted in and of themselves. Instead, it’s part of a self-perpetuating cycle, started by the insatiable desire to get in on elite recruits at an ever-earlier age and then enhanced by James’ intrinsic fame. And yes, having his father courtside for virtually every game doesn’t hurt, either.
It all makes for the kind of unique see and be seen buzz usually reserved for elite professional sporting events. And here, rather than dress in Gucci and Versace for the cameras, LeBron, his home boys and coaches are all decked out in gym clothes and polo shirts.
It’s not like Bronny hasn’t delivered. He’s hit shots like this when they open up, and he’s created when they haven’t.
And, with Zaire Wade delivered in spades on courts on the EYBL senior circuit, there’s plenty of celebrity basketball to go around, idealy not at a simultaneous time.