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It's a family affair: Lebron and son prepare for celebrity NBA tie-up at LA Lakers

Lebron and Bronny James
Lebron and Bronny James Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Garfield Myrie
Published on
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Bronny James joins his basketball legend dad LeBron at the LA Lakers and gets tongues wagging about ‘nepo babies’.

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Bronny James was the 55th pick in the annual NBA draft that sees clubs recruit the best rookie players to bolster their teams. His recruitment, however, has captured headlines around the world and reignited debates about ‘nepo babies’ and the pulling power of family collaborations.

Bronny (19) wasn’t considered the brightest NBA draft prospect and it’s doubtful he’ll make a big impact on the court in his rookie year. But the very thought of NBA history being made when he and his legendary dad play together will get bums on seats, eyes on screens and contracts through the door.

Lebron James
Lebron JamesDavid Zalubowski/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.

The multiplier effect of family collaborations is marketing gold. The famous collaborating with family members provides a tantalising opportunity to scrutinise every interaction and draw conclusions about their relationships.

Sporting tie-ups on a par with LeBron and Bronny’s are incredibly rare. Having a star name can only get you so far if you don’t have the talent to back it up in the sports.

'Nepo collabs' can make or break a project

The picture is very different in the entertainment world where a lack of talent is no barrier to success and ‘nepo collabs’ are big business - delivering massive returns if they work, or crashing and burning if they don't.

Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola was vilified for casting his daughter Sofia as Al Pacino’s mafia don's child, in the third instalment of his Godfather trilogy.

Oscar winner Sofia Coppola
Oscar winner Sofia CoppolaJordan Strauss/2017 Invision

Although widely regarded as the weakest of the three films, the experience helped propel Sofia to a successful career behind the camera.

In 2003, her movie Lost in Translation won her an Oscar for best original screenplay and secured an historic best director nomination – at the time she was the first American woman to be nominated for the prize.

Mr and Mrs Smith

Hollywood power couple Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett-Smith have been working with their kids Jaden and Willow since they were old enough to sign a contract.

Jaden’s first feature film credit was alongside Will in the 2006 movie, The Pursuit of Happiness, when he was just 8-years-old.

Will Smith and Jaden Smith attend AFTER EARTH Day at the Miami Science Museum, May 16, 2013.
Will Smith and Jaden Smith attend AFTER EARTH Day at the Miami Science Museum, May 16, 2013.AP Photo

As a thirteen-year-old he co-starred with his dad again in the 2013 film After Earth. Neither film was a classic but they did turn a small profit at the box office.

In 2008 Willow Smith worked with her mother on the animated film Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.

Willow Smith, at left, and her mother, Jada Pinkett Smith arrive at The CAST 15th Annual "From Slavery To Freedom" Event at Sofitel Los Angeles on Thursday, May 9, 2013
Willow Smith, at left, and her mother, Jada Pinkett Smith arrive at The CAST 15th Annual "From Slavery To Freedom" Event at Sofitel Los Angeles on Thursday, May 9, 2013AP Photo

Eight-year-old Willow was the voice of a young Gloria the hippopotamus, her mother Jada voiced the adult Gloria.

UK actress Elizabeth Hurley and her son Damian took the ‘nepo baby’ phenomena to a new and some say disturbing level in 2024. Damian directed his mum in a now infamous lesbian sex scene in the universally panned film Strictly Confidential – IMDb rated the film a 2.9 out of 10.

Elizabeth and Damian Hurley
Elizabeth and Damian HurleyAndy Kropa/2024 Invision

Keeping up with the Kardashians

Global stars the Kardashians are perhaps the planet’s most successful ‘nepo family’. Keeping up with the Kardashians is a money-making juggernaut that’s helped generate billions of dollars for Caitlin, Kim, Kourtney, Khloé, Kendall, Kylie, Rob, their children and assorted partners.

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Ever the innovator, Kim Kardashian has also pulled-off the ultimate ‘nepo baby’ power move by getting her eldest child in on the family business as early as possible.

Kim Kardashian receives her daughter North West from Kanye West, as they get into a classic American car in Havana, Cuba, 5 May,2016
Kim Kardashian receives her daughter North West from Kanye West, as they get into a classic American car in Havana, Cuba, 5 May,2016Ramon Espinosa/Copyright 2016 The AP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu

North West, Kim’s first child with former husband singer Kanye West, has appeared in a Balmain fashion show in Paris, modelled for her mother’s Skims shapewear brand, appeared on the cover of magazines around the world, and been hailed as a mini style icon praised for her sartorial boldness and creativity, all by the age of 10.

She’s a strong contender for the ultimate ‘nepo baby’ title and her collab with her mum must be among the most successful family tie-ups, and their story has just begun.

Only time will tell if Bronny has the talent to have a successful basketball career, but regardless of his ability, when he steps on to the court with his famous dad, his name will go down in basketball history. That’s quite a feat for a 55th draft pick.

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