July 2023

Bronny James' Success is Self Made, Not Because of His Father LeBron James

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The meteoric rise of Bronny James, the son of basketball legend LeBron James, has sparked debates surrounding the influence of parental support, meritocracy, and the delicate balance between opportunity and fairness.

The contrasting journeys of young LeBron and his son Bronny are so different, with Bronny enjoying the spoils of living life as the son of a billionare, while LeBron grew up risking homelessness and exeriencing poverty.

Bronny is undoubtedly more polished, more experienced, and better prepared for life from a professional standpoint, and outshines his peers in many ways including having greater influence and attention which easily translate to financial opportunity. His opportunities are attributable to his father's success, with his peers having to earn things the hard way that he's seemingly had bestowed upon him.

He's already signed an endorsement deal with Nike the same company his father has a lifetime deal with. Has Bronny James earned this through merit? There's no question that he hasn't, there are no comparably talented players enjoying similar off the field successes.

Is Bronny more deserving than his father at the same age? No, and it's not close. By awarding an opportunity to LeBron, does it detract from Bronny or is it just a fair evaluation based on merit rather than polish?

read: Born to Ball: Does Being a 'Nepo Baby' Guarantee Athletic Success?

LeBron James' unparalleled success and influence has undeniably paved the way for his son Bronny. The support and resources available to Bronny as a result of his father's achievements raise questions about the interplay between individual merit, privilege, and the opportunities that arise from parental advantages. Bronny has every resource available necessary to succeed at his disposal. Bronny still has to do the work, and is highly polished. Yet Bronny cannot compare to being anywhere close to as talented or more deserving, or worthy of any accolodates over his father at the same age.

Drawing a comparison between young LeBron James and Bronny, it becomes evident that the elder James possessed exceptional talent and resilience, despite lacking the same level of parental support and polish. Young LeBron's journey highlights the distinction between raw potential, earned through effort and resilience having to compete with peers who enjoy the advantages that come with parental networks and resources.

Bronny has access to more than his more deserving father at the same age. Is it earned, is it deserved?

The notion of the "nepo baby" an individual who benefits from familial connections and advantages, often stirs controversy and accusations of unearned privilege. It's clear as day to understand how having resources can unfairly create a mirage of success that isn't more deserving. Shouldn't the opposite ring true as well?

read: The Privilege of Playing the Game on Easy Mode, and what the Affirmative Action Ruling gets Wrong

It's impossible to argue that Bronny is more deserving of anything over his father, and similarly situated individuals working even harder for much less. We also cannot take away from what Bronny has earned. Even if his father cleared the path, he still has to walk it and follow his own journey. We must ask in this scenario, who's taking from whom?

Shouldn't both strive to achieve the best possibilities without having to pit each other's successes against the other or second guess whether something earned has been unfairly given or taken away from the other?

While concerns about the "nepo baby" phenomenon persist, it is crucial to understand that programs like Affirmative Action were designed to address historical imbalances and identify those deserving of opportunities who've faced systemic disadvantages. Sometimes it's easier to see this from the perspective of viewing the advantages of people with more, rather than everyon'es favorite pissing contest of who's more self made, worked the hardest, and has overcome the most adversity.

Our network, test scores and polish can easily outshine unpolished ability, and using them to our advantage isn't to blame either. But, when the goal is to identify and land the best talent, who's most deserving of opportunity?

Issa Hall, Esq

Issa has founded multiple ventures, is an author, and founding partner of Hall & Dixon law firm, with over a decade of experience in tech and law.

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