The Australian National Basketball League could receive a seismic boost in 2023 with the son of NBA future Hall of Famer LeBron James considering a move.
James is one of the greatest players the NBA has ever honored and there is considerable debate over whether he or Michael Jordan lays claim to the title of the greatest of all time.
His son Bronny is an old block chip and is expected to make his NBA debut in 2024. He is currently in high school and will have a year of development before expected to nominate for the NBA draft.
Bronny is LeBron James’ eldest child and has a huge NBA future of his own
And that development year could be in Australia, The Athletic’s That’s what Joe Vardon reported.
“Bronny will be in college in the fall of 2023, with G League Ignite or in Australia…or wherever.” [agent] Rich Paul puts it,” Vardon wrote.
The possibility is further heightened by the fact that no NCAA university has dealt harshly with the rising star of a basketball legend, despite the hype and financial incentives he would bring.
Bronny lines up for a three-point shot for Sierra Canyon in his senior year of high school
Director of Scouting at 247 Sports and CBS host on NBA Insider Adam Finkelstein said automatic assumptions that Bronny would join the NCAA system could be wrong.
“I think the perception is that Bronny James isn’t going to play college basketball. That is by no means a fact,” he said.
“But when you’re in a college coach’s section and you just hear what coaches are saying about this, I haven’t heard anyone say, ‘Yeah, we’re going to push Bronny hard.’”
LeBron James, left, poses with his son Bronny after Sierra Canyon defeated Akron St. Vincent – St. Mary in a high school basketball game in 2019.
The G League Ignite is a developmental basketball team added to the NBA’s second-tier league in 2020 with the goal of quickly following talented players looking to get around college.
Australian Dyson Daniels played for the Ignite before being selected by the New Orleans Pelicans as pick No.8 in the 2022 NBA Draft.
The Next Stars program was launched by the NBL in 2018 to accelerate the development of the NBA’s next stars in a highly competitive men’s league in an effort to lure rising stars — such as Bronny — to Australia.
Daniels was drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans after playing for G League Ignite
Under the American college system, rising stars play against contemporaries and are not paid. The Next Stars program pits them against Australian Boomers, former NBA stars and some of the best men’s talents below the NBA in the world.
In addition to the attraction, Next Stars players will receive $50,000 USD and receive lodging, a car, and all of their individual training and development, making it a very attractive alternative to NCAA basketball.
Charlotte Hornet’s guard LaMelo Ball is a prominent graduate of the Next Stars program with the Illawarra Hawks and he became the youngest player ever to score a triple double in the NBL before being the No. 3 overall roster in the 2020 NBA draft.
LaMelo Ball was the first big name to sign up for the NBL’s Next Stars program, shattering league records as an 18-year-old (top) before being drafted by Charlotte in the NBA
Orlando Magic point guard RJ Hampton and former New Zealand Breaker and French guard Ousmane Dieng — who was selected number 11 in this year’s NBA draw by the Oklahoma City Thunder this year — are other notable Next Star graduates.
It would be a huge coup for the Australian NBL, not only because of LeBron’s profile, but also because Bronny already has more than 6.4 million followers on Instagram.
‘Interesting. Let’s see what happens. NBL is a legitimate path to draft and NBA,” wrote one fan.
“He’s really going to learn to play basketball at the NBL,” wrote another.
“With all the big owners in the US buying into the NBL team, things like this will definitely happen eventually,” suggested another
Earlier this year, Kings owner Paul Smith stated that Sydney would be the only Australian capital large enough to house the James family.
“There’s only one city big enough for LeBron and Bronny, and that’s Sydney. We would fill 18,000 seats each week,” Smith told the Sydney Morning Herald.
James Snr hopes to play one final NBA season on the same team as his son
LeBron James has announced his intentions to play one final NBA season on the same team as his son Bronny, whether that be with the Lakers or another side.
If Bronny were to play in the NBL, he would compete in the NBA draft and hopefully with his dad on the field on the big stage.
“The LeBron-Bronny teammate thing is real. With this being the modern NBA and stars forcing their way from teams regardless of contract value or length, anything is possible when it comes to 2024, Vardon wrote.