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Bronny James Draft Saga A Black Eye For The NBA's Integrity

One of the biggest storylines leading up to the 2024 NBA Draft was regarding whether or not Bronny James, the son of LeBron, would be drafted -- and if so, where he would end up.


It should've been obvious from the start that the Los Angeles Lakers, the team LeBron plays for, would make a play for Bronny. What wasn't quite as expected was that they would actively manipulate the draft process in order to select him, while all the talking heads on ESPN played full damage control for what should be viewed as a clear violation of the NBA's tampering policy.


There's so many things wrong here. First off, the obvious: Rich Paul is not a general manager or team executive. He should not be playing a role in any team's draft selections, and to hold a player hostage for one particular franchise while threatening to manipulate his career path should anyone else take him is beyond slimy. Also, keep in mind it's not the first time Paul has done this.


Then, of course, there's the LeBron factor. He has been open for years about wanting to play with his son, but is that what Bronny wants? Bronny is a 19-year-old independent human being who can make his own decisions, and does not deserve to be exploited all so that his father can fulfill some selfish pipe dream. He should have gone through the draft process the same way every other player did, as opposed to having his destiny chosen for him.


Yet the worst part, bar none, is the way the NBA media world has not only turned a blind eye to clear and obvious tampering, but openly celebrated the way Bronny's selection played out. ESPN's draft coverage studio spent much of the second round complaining about how fans would perceive the pick, while arguing that other cases of nepotism around the league makes it okay here and that LeBron's stature entitles him this type of power.


Sure, it's historic to have a father and son on the same NBA roster. But it's not like other teams were lining up to draft Bronny, a player who averaged 4.8 points per game in college -- or at least, they wouldn't have been if not for LeBron having stated numerous times that he'd consider joining whoever picked him. This could have been orchestrated without damaging the draft's integrity, and the league's championing of it is sickening.


Ultimately, it's a failure of Adam Silver's leadership. Had this been any other team or player, they would likely be charged for tampering and would lose future draft picks. But since it's the league's most recognizable name and most historic franchise, and a prime opportunity to grab headlines and ratings, it's celebrated as a feel-good story.


LeBron James may be one of the greatest players to ever pick up a basketball. But he is not bigger than the NBA, and the fact that he, his agent, and the Lakers organization were allowed to blatantly and openly pull strings in order to select Bronny is a black eye for the sport.


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