Welcome to the TMZ era in covering high school sports.
From teenagers holding cameras under a basket trying to capture a dunk that might go viral on YouTube to teammates filming an athletic feat in practice and putting it on Snapchat, it’s a whole new way of bringing news to fans.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s son played football at Brentwood. Harrison Ford’s son was a baseball player at Northridge Highland Hall years ago. Wayne Gretzky’s kids played baseball and golf at Oaks Christian. Justin Fargas, whose father, Antonio, played Huggy Bear in “Starsky & Hutch,” became a football star and state track champion at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.
Los Angeles is a good place for the children of celebrities to feel comfortable and get lost in a crowd because we’re so used to seeing celebrities at a restaurant or grocery store without going bonkers. The rise of social media, though, is intensifying the focus on these young athletes.
The Balls became national household names. The media got internet clicks. Fans were mesmerized by what they saw in the weekly soap opera.
Now the pursuit on social media begins for the next big thing, and you can predict without hesitation that the arrival of Bronny James to the high school ranks this fall will produce the greatest tsunami of cameras ever seen for a 15-year-old athlete.
Crossroads banned cameras from middle school games this season in hopes of allowing him and classmates one final year of junior high normalcy. That ends soon.
The good news is that the talent level is so high in Southern California that the initial outpouring of interest in a singular player will eventually fade — at least a little bit.
If Bronny is as good as he looks — and he is good — it’s going to be a wild four-year ride. The unofficial beginning of the Bronny James era began more than a week ago when the 2018-19 basketball season ended. Now comes weekly speculation whether he’s going to stay at Crossroads or go to a different high school.
A journalist’s job is to entertain, inform and keep readers abreast of the trends and happenings in Southern California while identifying the future standouts coming and going.