LeBron’s new deal keeps hope alive for father-son team-up

LeBron James agreed to a two-year, $85 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, which will take him through the 2022-23 season. Know what else happens in 2023?

James’ son, LeBron James Jr. (known as Bronny), graduates from high school.

In 2018, James said on an “Uninterrupted” feature that playing with or against Bronny, who is currently a sophomore at Sierra Canyon School in California, would be the “greatest achievement” of his life.

“You want to ask me what is the greatest achievement of my life? If I’m on the same court as my son in the NBA. That would be number one in my lifetime as an NBA player. I’ve thought about it because my son is about to be 14, and he might be able to get in there a little earlier.”

Father-son team-up not certain

James will turn 39 during the 2023-24 season, the year after his Lakers extension runs out, but there’s a decent chance that he’ll be more than good enough to keep playing in the NBA. (He is LeBron, after all.) But one thing would need to happen to make the father-son team-up a reality in 2023: Bronny would need to enter the draft in 2023, and currently he’s not allowed to do that.

The famous/infamous one-and-done rule prevents Bronny from entering the draft right after he finishes high school. Prospects need to turn 19 in the year of the draft and be one year removed from graduating high school in order to be eligible. Bronny would need to spend a year in college and then declare for the draft, or be offered a G League professional path select contract, which would allow him to spend a year training professionally before entering the draft.

If that rule remains in place, James would have to play another year before realizing his dream of playing with or against Bronny, staying in the NBA through his age 40 season. There has been some movement toward ending that rule in recent years, but talks between the NBA and NBPA on that issue have reportedly stalled. The discussion might not restart until the current collective bargaining agreement runs out in 2024.

Rule change or not, we do know one thing: If LeBron wants to play in the NBA at the same time as Bronny, he’ll find a way to make it happen.

LeBron James his son LeBron James Jr., on the court after the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers basketball game at Staples Center.
LeBron James and his son, Bronny, could possibly play in the NBA at the same time. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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