Filling the shoes of your star athlete parent has to be a trip. We’ve seen this recently in the case of LeBron James’ son LeBron James Jr, who goes by the nickname Bronny and is in his first year of college at USC. Being that his dad is the all-time leading scorer in NBA history, you can only imagine the type of microscope he plays under. But the spotlight isn’t always as bright for every child of a professional athlete.

So, what exactly makes that distinction you might ask. In my opinion, these expectations are based on how much of a star player these parents were. There are several star players currently who are the children of pro athletes. These players include Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who respectively, are probably the greatest shooters in NBA history. Their fathers, Dell Curry and Michael Thompson, weren’t franchise players but memorable role players, who contributed greatly to team success. We can use Gary Payton II as an example of a child of a Hall of Fame player who isn’t a star. But in his case, he has carved out a role for himself as a staunch perimeter defender.

Now I’m sure that there was some expectation that Payton II would be as offensively gifted as his dad, but it was quickly realized that his niche was defense. And his proficiency in that area is also derived from his dad’s abilities. Once the talent he had could properly be defined, that pressure was lifted off of him.

In a case like Curry and Thompson, the fact that their parents weren’t superstars probably helped them play a bit freer. Curry showed his proclivity for shooting threes at Davidson from early on. It was that ability that garnered the attention of the nation. The fact that his dad was a former NBA player wasn’t the main appeal of his success. Thompson for a time, was known as the best two-way player in the NBA. That meant that he was amazing on offense and defense, and that skill set set him apart from what his father was known for. These guys differentiated themselves without a certain type of pressure that we’re seeing Bronny subjected to.

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When it comes to some of the premier players in NBA history, historically, their kids didn’t come close to achieving the same success. The sons of Patrick Ewing and Michael Jordan didn’t quite cut the mustard professionally. It’s not easy. So, when you consider an all-time great like James, we have to try and be realistic.

Bronny has exhibited great IQ on the court as well as athleticism. But coming off of a summer where he suffered cardiac arrest, the USC guard is now being eased into competition at the collegiate level. We in the media need to try and be realistic. We have to give this young man some time.

If we could write it, LeBron’s and Bronny’s games would be spitting images of one another. But ultimately, they’re two completely different people. And it’s Bronny who deserves some leeway in finding himself and his game in this highly visual society. So all in all, are these pressures that we put on these players fair? Hell no. Let’s be pragmatic. And let’s make sure to keep our opinions soft and sweet…in case we have to eat them.