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Bronny James

LeBron James says son Bronny 'doesn't give a (expletive)' about critics

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown, but Bronny James apparently doesn't care.

Despite abundant criticism and claims of nepotism, Lakers icon LeBron James said his eldest son Bronny does not care about the rampant scrutiny he has faced since the Lakers selected him with the No. 55 overall pick in the 2024 NBA draft.

"I don't know if people really understand Bronny," in an interview. "He doesn't care. I actually care a little bit. When I came in (as a rookie), I wanted people to like me, and some of the things that people were saying about me kind of bothered me early on in my career. ... He doesn't give a (expletive).

"He does not care about nobody. He doesn't even listen to that stuff. He's like the coolest. He's like the complete opposite of his dad. His dad will say something (to address the critics). Bro does not care. ... Everything that's being said about him, he really does not care."

Los Angeles Lakers guard Bronny James Jr. (9) reenters the game against the Sacramento Kings during the second quarter at Chase Center on July 6, 2024.

LeBron − known widely as King James − and Bronny could become the first father-son duo to appear in a regular season game in NBA history. LeBron's 21-year career, in which he has scored more points than any other player, is already two years older than Bronny, 19, who declared for the draft in May after one season with the USC Trojans.

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Bronny, who missed the first eight games of the season as he recovered from a medical procedure to treat a congenital heart defect, averaged 19.3 minutes, 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game in 25 games for USC. Critics have said that LeBron used his influence to steer Bronny to the Lakers.

"Just imagine if you were a kid, you were born into a situation where your dad was super famous, super wealthy and you the kid still had the drive to want to be able to accomplish things for yourself," LeBron James told ESPN. "I personally don't know if I would've been able to do that if the roles were reversed.

"When I was coming up, I had no choice. I literally had no choice. ... I had to make it out for me. My mom, my family, my hometown, my city. Bronny has all the choices in the world. If Bronny wants to stop right now or never played basketball or just wanted to be a gamer or wanted to be a chef or wanted to be nothing to whatever, he could have done that."

In his NBA debut Saturday, in the California Classic summer league, Bronny James scored four points on two-of-nine shooting from the field − including 0-for-3 from three-point range − and added two assists, two rebounds and one steal in 21 minutes. He also missed a pair of free throws.

The Lakers held Bronny out of Sunday's California Classic game against the Warriors as a precaution because of swelling in his left knee.

Bronny signed a four-year, $7.9 million rookie deal on Wednesday, the same day LeBron James reached a two-year, $104 million deal with the Lakers.

"People don't understand how hard that is and the commitment for him to be coming out of heart surgery less than a year ago," LeBron James said, "for him to be able to be in the NBA, the kid, he's special."

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