Stephen A. Smith Opens Up About Bronny James

Speculation swirls around LeBron's influence in NBA decisions.

by Abdullah Magsi
Stephen A. Smith Opens Up About Bronny James
© David Becker/Getty Images

As the 2024 NBA Draft deadline looms, Bronny James, the eldest son of basketball legend LeBron James, has confirmed his decision to remain in the draft. This confirmation thrusts him into the spotlight not only as a notable prospect but also as a topic of intense and complex discussions due to his familial ties.

During a recent episode of ESPN's "First Take," sports commentator Stephen A. Smith delved into the intricacies surrounding Bronny's draft position. He expressed concerns over what he perceives as a conspicuous shift in ESPN’s draft rankings, which recently moved Bronny from the 98th to the 54th spot.

Smith highlighted the curious timing of this adjustment, pointing out its proximity to the Los Angeles Lakers' 55th pick. He questioned the authenticity of this ranking change, suggesting it might appear to conveniently justify the Lakers selecting Bronny if he were available at that spot.

Smith Questions LeBron's Moves

Smith's skepticism didn't end with the draft rankings. He also commented on LeBron James' decision to start a podcast with JJ Redick, who is rumored to be a leading candidate for the Lakers' head coaching position.

This move, according to Smith, only adds layers of speculation to the ongoing narrative surrounding the James family and their potential influence on NBA decisions. Further intensifying the debate, Smith openly rooted for Bronny, praising his character and his upbringing.

Yet, he couldn't help but voice a broader concern that such coincidences might invite undue skepticism towards Bronny, which Smith argued was unfair to the young athlete who has not personally done anything to warrant such scrutiny.

ESPN is not the only media outlet that has Bronny ranked around the mid-fifties; Bleacher Report and CBS have placed him at 55th and 56th, respectively. However, other rankings like The Ringer and have him listed lower, at 69th and 79th.

ESPN’s latest mock draft even positions him to be picked by the Boston Celtics, right before the Lakers' turn. These varied predictions and the highlighted remarks by one of ESPN’s most prominent figures underscore a tangled web of expectations and conjectures.

This backdrop sets the stage for what could be one of the most closely watched and debated selections in recent draft history, especially if the Lakers end up drafting Bronny, potentially paving the way for the NBA’s first father-son duo in Los Angeles.

Such a development, while historic, continues to fuel discussions about merit, nepotism, and the fine line between the two in professional sports.

Stephen A. Smith