LeBron James’ fatherhood faux pass. : ThyBlackMan

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

LeBron James’ fatherhood faux pass.

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Few athletes have ever been under the public spotlight more than LeBron James. It is extremely rare when high school juniors appear on the cover of America’s preeminent sports magazine, Sports Illustrated as James did back in 2002. At the age of thirty-three, LeBron James has been in the national sports spotlight for virtually half of his life. He has used his public visibility in many positive ways including bringing attention to his school.

As his playing career begins to wind down with the latest chapter of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, there are few public situations he hasn’t been in and now he does so with the titles of being a father and husband, which he was neither when he entered the NBA back in 2003. While James seems to be a proud and happy father of three children, there was a comment that he made regarding one of his children which was better left unsaid.

LeBron James Jr. is the oldest of James’ three children and also a talented young basketball player at 13-years-old. While it is difficult to determine whether he will be as highly acclaimed as his father was during his high school career, James Jr. is talented enough to receive some interest from big-time programs like Duke at a relatively young age. It helps that James Jr. will have his dad to help him with the process of receiving attention through sports at a young age but the elder James has also reflected on giving his oldest son his name.

During an episode on the TV show, “The Shop”, James gave some honest perspective on naming his firstborn after him by saying, “When I was younger, I didn’t have a dad, so my whole thing was when I have a kid, not only is he gonna be a junior, I’m gonna do everything that this man didn’t do. They’re gonna experience things that I didn’t experience.” It is respectable that LeBron James wanted to be the father that he did not have in his own life. However, he also mentioned that, “I still regret giving my 14-year-old my name”. This revelation is problematic on a couple of levels.

Being the child of someone who is terrific or special at a particular profession isn’t rare. Children who take on their parent’s profession when their parent was excellent in that profession face a major challenge. Even basketball legend Michael Jordan referred to the pressure his sons faced by saying during his Hall of Fame speech, “I wouldn’t want to be you guys if I had to, because of all the expectations that you have to deal with”. There can be external and internal doubts about “living up to the shoes” of their parents and it happens in virtually all professions of life.

For LeBron James, it says a lot that he was comfortable enough to reveal the thinking that led him to name his son after him but the forum is more than questionable. It is one thing to tell some family members and close friends about his regrets about the naming of his son but it is entirely a different thing to be so public with that regret. It would have been more effective for James to have a heart to heart discussion with his son about the comparisons that his son would receive for playing the same sport has his incredibly famous father.

LeBron James Jr. will grow up in a social media and Internet age that is much larger and expansive than his father faced. Young athletes face more attention and more scrutiny than their predecessors did in previous generations. The same name that LeBron James Jr. uses to open doors will also attract negative attention at times during his maturation into teenage and young adulthood. While LeBron James might regret naming his son after him, it is also a mistake to tell everyone else that information.

Staff Writer; Mark Hines


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