Back in the summer of 2000, a 15-year-old LeBron James, playing for an AAU team in Oakland, rolled through his pregame layup line with a double-scoop ice cream cone in hand. It was apparently very funny. It’s the summer of 2019 and LeBron James is still enjoying himself in the AAU layup lines—lately, by yamming off-the-backboard dunks while his son and teammates look on. (Just like he did this time last year, only with different dunks.) This is what LeBron Jameses Jr. and Sr. got up to over the weekend:
During a different game, Bronny’s teammates Dior Johnson and Devontes Cobbs connected on a through-the-legs alley-oop in transition. The play did not involve his son at all, and LeBron James still lost his left shoe during the ensuing celebration. No one can deny that this is a man who loves and will die right now for his Sport and for SPORTS in general. “But for real my shoe really jump off my foot in excitement,” James wrote later.
James is an extremely online and enthusiastic father. At age 34, he is effectively the Mayor of Basketball, hammy and expressive. On the scale of cheesy bystander participation, he neared “Drake massaging Nick Nurse” levels; fortunately, the standard of decorum is very different at summer AAU games than during the Eastern Conference Finals. That didn’t deter various ghouls from reading his dunk celebrations as evidence of bad parenting.
Apparently both the kids doing the dunking and the kids being dunked on relished the attention from one of the greatest basketball players in history. Who would have thought? I figured they would have heeded the powerful critique from the lethargic booger on TV. “Everybody takes everything so seriously,” said AAU teammate Ayinde Ubaka, reminiscing on James’s ice cream moment a decade and a half later. “It’s summertime basketball and he was having fun.”