A tweet of LeBron James Jr. screaming while sporting a photoshopped Duke jersey earned a brief but strong viral reaction over the weekend. The comments insinuated that the account that tweeted the photo was owned and operated by Bronny James himself.
Was it? We set out to find out.
The account in question: @BronnyJamesJr. It boasts more than 32,000 followers on Twitter, is one of only two accounts that emerge when one searches for “Bronny James” and purports to be a 6-foot-2 PG for Sierra Canyon High School, and EST AKRON. Those facts are both true and presented in a very on-brand way for the LeBron brand.
While a large chunk of the internet seems to have concluded that this account is, in fact, run by Bronny James, there are legitimate reasons to doubt. First of all, the account was established in 2017, when Bronny was still 12 years old. That’s pretty early for anyone to be allowed to begin tweeting and perusing Twitter, let alone the scion of a famous family.
Connected with that tidbit is this: When Bronny joined Instagram in May — handle @bronny — it came accompanied by a post from his LeBron (@kingjames) who noted that he had promised his son he could join Instagram in three years back in 2016. By that logic, he would have had to give in on Twitter after just one year and then make Bronny wait another two years before joining Instagram? Are there any logical ways LeBron could have found Twitter significantly safer than Instagram for his son to engage across (hint: there aren’t).
Frankly, that LeBron security angle is enough for us to call shenanigans on @BronnyJamesJr. While it’s not suspicious that a middle school basketball player wouldn’t have a verified blue checkmark, it is odd that it wouldn’t be followed or retweeted by his father.
USA TODAY High School Sports reached out directly to @BronnyJamesJr and asked if the account was run by Bronny James himself or a fan. We haven’t heard back, and we will update this story if the owner and/or operated of the account eventually do reply.
For now, there’s precious little to intimate that the account is run by the budding hoops phenom himself. That’s probably all for the best for his personal privacy, though it underscores how a simple imposter account can create and distort impressions about a real celebrity, particularly one as young as Bronny James himself.