Danny Green was mid-sentence in Denver when a thunderous voice howled through the locker room and interrupted his train of thought. It came from LeBron James, who was sitting at his locker. He’d finished his postgame interviews but had yet to shower because his eyes were glued to his phone.
“Bronny did something good,” said Green, who couldn’t see him but made a correct assumption.
It was Sierra Canyon’s boys’ basketball home opener and James’ son, LeBron James Jr., or Bronny, is a ninth grader on the team. So far, this is how James has watched his son’s games. On Saturday, he’ll get a chance to see one in person for the first time when Sierra Canyon takes on James’ alma mater of St. Vincent-St. Mary high school in Columbus, Ohio. The game is set to tip off at 5:30 p.m. PST.
“If you ask me what’s been the only sucky thing about this season so far is that my son has played like six games into his freshman year and I haven’t seen one,” James said. “I love what I do. I don’t take this for granted. This is a dream come true. But missing my son, you know Bron Jr., missing Bryce’s first game the other day when we left for Orlando, his first game of the season. Missing my daughter at gymnastics and things of that nature, and I understand the business, but it sucks.
“So for me to potentially have the opportunity to go watch my son play tomorrow and also versus my alma matter, it’s a pretty surreal, come-full-circle, unbelievable thing.”
James planned to fly to Columbus from Miami on Saturday morning, where the Lakers beat the Heat 113-110 on Friday night. He then planned to fly to Atlanta on Saturday night to meet his team for their Sunday game against the Hawks.
“We sacrifice a lot in this profession, in terms of the family time and the things we miss out on with our kids,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “I’m definitely happy for him, that he’ll be able to do that.”
James watched Sierra Canyon’s season opener on an iPad in Oklahoma City. His son isn’t the only famous son on the team. Dwyane Wade’s son, Zaire, enrolled in Sierra Canyon this year too. Wade, who retired last year, and his wife, Gabrielle Union, attend their games.
James doesn’t want the same kind of scrutiny for his son that he had growing up. James was on the cover of Sports Illustrated at 17, but he and his wife have decided not to allow Bronny to do interviews yet.
Still, some nostalgia does set in when he sees the attention Bronny’s team draws.
“It’s a great time for him,” Anthony Davis said. “Kind of reliving his past watching his son play, go through everything. All the media and all the games they play on TV … It’s fun for him, but it’s fun for us to see him excited to watch his son play. We try to watch the games when he’s watching it and just enjoy it with him.”