Kendrick Perkins Wants ESPN And The Media To Stop The Constant Bronny Coverage

The NBA Draft does not feature an elite prospect, and that has made this year’s buildup to the Draft fairly light in terms of hype. When that happens, networks and media outlets go in search of something that grabs attention, and the quest of Bronny James to join his father in the NBA is among the biggest.

James is a second round prospect who will need to impress in workouts (which he got a good start to doing so at the Combine), but his very famous father making it known he wants to play with him adds further intrigue to his situation. Bronny, for his part, has said that’s not a goal of his, and he just wants to end up on a team that wants him for his own merits as a player.

Even though he’s not expected to go on Night 1 of the Draft, there is ample conversation about James in the lead up to the Draft, and Kendrick Perkins asked for ESPN and the rest of the media to pump the brakes when it comes to Bronny.

“Let me say this, we have to stop. We have to stop as the media and everybody else shining the light on Bronny, cause there’s other players that deserve our attention – the lottery guys, the guys that are actually gonna get drafted in the first round. We’re talking about a young man that’s possibly going in the late second round or not getting drafted at all. I’ve never in my four years of working here, I’ve never sat on a table and we’re talking about a second round pick.”

As Chiney Ogwumike and Ramona Shelburne defended the attention Bronny’s been given, Perkins continued to push back.

“What does that have to do with his son being at the NBA Combine? We didn’t shine the light on Scottie Pippen’s kid like this. We can’t move the goalposts and feel like we’re gonna do it when it’s convenient for us.”

Now, I will say, the sports media has always moved goalposts to cover the things that get the most views. That is, arguably, the core principle of what we do. The sports media did not cover players parents before LaVar Ball and really haven’t after, it was just a thing people seemed to really be interested in (either because they loved it or hated it).

Overall, I think Perk makes very fair points, and I think there’s an important balance to strike when it comes to how we talk about Bronny. It is, as Chiney and Ramona point out, a big story that LeBron’s son is trying to make it to the league, and the reason it’s different from Pippen’s son or any other kids of ex-NBA stars is that LeBron is still in the league. He’s also made it clear that he wants to play with Bronny, even if Bronny seems less interested in that, and because LeBron is a free agent this summer, there is a prevailing idea (right or wrong) that the team that drafts Bronny has a chance to add LeBron.

That is the biggest reason why this story is as big as it is, along with the fact that there isn’t a dominant prospect at the top. That said, it’s going to be important for Bronny not to be the leading story of this draft because, as Perk rightly explains, he’s a fringe NBA prospect at this point. That’s not to say he can’t make it in the league, but he has a lot to show still and didn’t really get that chance in a very strange year at USC and it would do him a disservice to talk about him ad nauseam.

We will see how much ESPN heeds Perk’s pleas when they cover the Draft this June, particularly with the Draft being split into two nights. The second round could feature an awful lot of Bronny coverage, and Perk won’t exactly be thrilled by that on the desk.