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Home / Sports / LeBron James is like any father watching his 13-year-old son until raw fans cancel a game

LeBron James is like any father watching his 13-year-old son until raw fans cancel a game



LAS VEGAS – Dozens of fans met in front of the entrance on Wednesday evening, the anxious crowd grew minute by minute and threatened to fall into a separate place.

"A few adults have chosen to respond, and we decided it was best to stop the game." Coach Joe Orukotan from the North Coast Blue Chips

They were here to see the world's biggest NBA star – and his 13-year-old son – in a small auxiliary gym at Liberty High School.

The hopeful masses never got the chance. The game of LeBron James Jr. was canceled due to security concerns before the ball was overturned at 9:30 pm. Thanks to an adult in a Michael Jordan jersey who taunted LeBron James LeBron James ̵

1; and a brawl that broke out between adults before the game could even begin – the biggest news coming out of the Las Vegas basketball scene on Wednesday night was the The fact that a 13-and-under game was scrapped.

It was almost certainly the most anticipated 13U game in the history of Las Vegas summer basketball.

"This was our first ever cancellation," said Joe Orukotan, who trains Bronny James' North Coast Blue Chips team, to CBS Sports. "A few adults decided to do it, and we decided it was best to stop the game."

An event spokesman told CBS Sports that the decision to end the event was the right one. About 20 minutes after the cancellation, the fans stayed in the small gym and demanded their money back. Bigfoot Hoops, in which the tournament takes place, in which the team of Bronny James on the north coast is involved, has tried to give refunds.

It was a backdrop that participants will not soon forget.

One year away from the surreal spectacle Zion Williamson. LaMelo Ball here in Las Vegas, where LeBron stopped just in case of security concerns and crowd concerns, is developing a trend. The stars come out for the youth basketball scene in the desert, but the operations at some of these places are easily overstrained.

Crowd control is paramount. Even officials ask LeBron for photos as the games continue. This only gets more difficult when Bronny James gets into high school.

What will not happen for another year. One of the most famous 13-year-olds will start in eighth grade this fall in Los Angeles.

We quickly realize that Bronny's basketball tour requires NBA-like security to keep these games going without incident in the future. Las Vegas, as it happens every year in late July, has become the center of the basketball world. Hundreds of college coaches are here to recruit, hundreds of non-scholastic teams are here to compete in dozens of gyms, and the US basketball camp takes place in the UNLV's labs.

As expected, LeBron and his family have become a major attraction in the summer basketball scene. Bronny, whose official name is LeBron James Jr., already intervenes in the first name.

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Bronny James (center) of the East Coast Blue Chips during a break Wednesday.
CBS Sports / Matt Norlander

"Which is Bronny?" is a question that fills the gyms at the beginning of his games, demanded by children and adults alike. It will not be long before occasional basketball fans can identify him as easily as his father.

And then there's his father's performance on these games, which is expected to be accompanied by squeaks, breakneck necks, and noise. To see a LeBron in a humble high school is a superstar in an unnaturally comfortable environment. There's a big crowd in Las Vegas every July, but this one is different because LeBron James, Basketball Dad, shows up encouragingly asking for advice from his son and teammates behind the team bench.

"Let's go, Bronny – Space it – Space it – Now go to work."

It's a pure, funny scene.

The 5-foot-10 James Jr. is already ruling large crowds and is rapidly growing toward celebrity status, whether he wants it or not. If you're the son of LeBron James, and you want to play basketball, and you're really good at basketball compared to most other 13-year-olds, then it's inevitable.

James, traveling in Las Vegas with a convoy of Escalades and Navigators, enters gyms through back doors and side entrances to quickly get him in and out without causing scenes that endanger the public. He can not just stroll through the parking lot, go through the main entrance and walk to the bleachers. That might send people to the emergency room. So he dives just before Bronny is allowed to play, keeps away from the Hoi Polloi and sits, as on Wednesday evening, with his good friend Chris Paul together.

Gymnasiums are closed long before Bronny's games begin. It's become a situation where you have to arrive an hour before planned tip to have a chance to watch North Coast game.

On Wednesday night, before the scene in Liberty High, Bronny's North Coast Blue Chips started their last summer basketball tournament at Agassi Prep (they also played in Florida, Texas, Wisconsin, Ohio and North Carolina). North Coast beat the Oakland Rebels 26-0 to win 66-18.

While the games continue, LeBron's voice can be heard droning in the gym.

"Double, get down, Mike!"

"Do not play with them, do not play with them, just go."

"When I try to get this tip, I see you, boy."

Although coaches are not yet allowed to recruit him, and Scout analysts in general are slow to take stock of most children's basketball skills before they reach high school, Bronny James is undeniably a fascinating young talent. He plays well with both hands, is a keen and aggressive defender and does not look like he's trying to disperse.

"Layup first, then outside," James told his son as the game began.

If you watch him play, it's clear that Bronny is doing well after his dad. Nobody knows how good he will be, but it is inevitable that he will become the most prominent player in his high school class (2022).

And LeBron is also extremely involved in the program, although Orukotan, who has been advising Bronny since his elementary years, told CBS Sports that James is not just funding the team.

"He's busy," Orukotan said. "Apart from being a role model for a million kids, he's a great dad, sometimes we'll play on the street, come back at 1 in the morning, and he's already worked on a schedule for our team."

At a point when Cleveland Cavalier coach Ty Lue watches in the stands next to LeBron, North Coast ran a game for a simple bucket. Lu started to laugh.

"Hey, Joe, the back door was open," LeBron told the coach.

It looked like North Coast was going to play exactly the same kind of set that James would use with the Cavaliers.

"You're running Fist Down!" Lue said to James in a surprised tone.

"We just said it yesterday," James said.

North Coast is not only known for Bronny James, but because the team is damned good. They are 46-7 this year, with many of these games against older competition. One of his players, Jahzare Jackson, is already around 6-7 and can dive. While Kevin Durant plunged into another Twitter crash on Wednesday, the world's biggest basketball player rocked a padded back rest, keeping a close eye on his daughter, locked in the lock of his oldest son's play. Given his incredible reputation, it would be understandable that LeBron chose to appear regularly at his son's games. But that does not seem like the plan – and he still plays down how good this group is.

"It's a good team, not a great team," I heard James say on Wednesday. "A little over the top."

The hype and interest will inevitably grow as Bronny ages. This weekend is the last summer he will not play in front of college coaches.

It is already desperate.

Imagine what it will be like when he is 14.


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