Is LeBron James one of those overbearing sports dads? Jason Whitlock from “Speak For Yourself” on Fox Sports 1 thinks so, and he criticized the hoop star for what he did at his son Bronny James’ AAU game over the weekend.
In one clip, that has since gone viral, the Los Angeles Laker was seen joining his son’s pregame layup line and putting on a dunk show, much to the crowd’s enjoyment.
Then in another video, James saw his boy throw an alley-oop to his teammate during a fast break, who then dunked it with one hand. James was so excited by the play that he ran onto the court during the game and lost a shoe in the process.
All of that was far too much for Whitlock, who said James is stealing his boy’s spotlight. Plus, he said James is so hungry for fame, as well as social media attention, that he makes himself the star at his son’s games.
“LeBron is making a spectacle of himself, a circus of his son’s early playing days and using his son’s games as yet another platform to build the LeBron social media brand,” said Whitlock on Monday. “It’s inappropriate.”
“It points to how much fame has inevitably changed LeBron over the past decade,” he added. “Fame is a drug more potent and dangerous than cocaine. LeBron is a fame and social media junkie. He moved to Los Angeles looking for a better high.”
Whitlock was shredded to a million pieces on social media afterwards, and people championed James for being a father who’s present.
“I swear people be having daddy issues,” someone tweeted on Monday. “Let the man enjoy time with his son. If he was no where to be found y’all would find a way to call him a deadbeat. Spending time with his son and the game they both love to play.”
Some also said it’s ridiculous for Whitlock to accuse James — who’s already incredibly famous — of trying to become even more famous through his son.
“A man who has 15 million followers on Instagram alone and with which he can promote anything he likes by just pressing a few buttons suddenly thought promoting his brand at an AAU tourney would be the better option,” someone wrote.
“There isn’t enough money in the world that could make me turn on a good, black, present, hard working, and caring father like this,” a third person tweeted. “It’s gross man.”
Others defended James as well, like the Boston Celtic’s Jayson Tatum.
“Lebron has set the standard this era for all fathers and even more so for black fathers,” he tweeted on Monday. “His son sees and feels the love and support from his dad. It’s never been seen on this level. They want to write the “his father wasn’t there” story instead of this one. THIS is goals!”
James hasn’t commented yet, at least not on his Instagram or Twitter page.