LeBron James has always been a passionate supporter of his son's basketball career, but now he has some fans wondering if he's a little too passionate.
The Los Angeles Lakers superstar sparked a parenting debate about how much exuberance is too much with some of his actions during a game involving his oldest son, LeBron James Jr., 14, who goes by Bronny, at an AAU tournament in Las Vegas.
After Bronny's teammate Devontes Cobbs threw down a dunk after a between-the-legs alley-oop from teammate Dior Johnson to draw a roar from the crowd, James ran out on the court in celebration in the middle of the game. He lost a sneaker in the process and scrambled to put it back on and get off the court.
James had also previously done something you don't really see any father do when he jumped in the lay-up line and dunked during pregame warm-ups for Bronny's team.
"He is making a spectacle of himself, a circus of his son’s early playing days, and using his son’s game as yet another platform to build the LeBron social media brand," Fox Sports commentator Jason Whitlock said on the show "Speak For Yourself."
James wrote that he was just so excited he couldn't contain himself.
"Dior/Tezzo connection knocked me out of my sneak!'' he wrote on Twitter. "Love being around my lil bros watching them playing the game they love. But for real my shoe really jump off my foot in excitement as well on that play."
"While I agree It’s great for the kids. You think other parents wouldn’t love to jump out there? Cmon Lebron keep it professional,'' one person responded to his tweet.
"Because he couldn’t just sit quietly and watch. Had to have all attention on him,'' another person wrote in response to his pregame dunk.
Some of his fellow professional athletes saw James, who has often spoken about how he grew up without a father, just being a proud dad.
"With so many fathers not supporting there kids we get upset because he is genuinely happy for his son!" Boston Celtics guard Jayson Tatum wrote on Twitter. "Lol that’s crazy I can’t wait till my son get older and I get to support him with whatever he wants to do!"
Johnson, the player who threw the pass that led to the dunk, also tried to put things in perspective.
"This is Crazy to see ... you guys take what this man does off the court for granted ..... sounds like hate ... My Dad has never been to ONE of my basketball Games ... In fact I haven’t even seen my father in 4 Years lol" he wrote on Twitter. "If you Realize ... his Son is not even suited up lol And he’s still on his feet hyped for kids that are not his."
TODAY Parents contributor and Positive Parenting Solutions founder Amy McCready appreciated James' enthusiasm but believes it was a little much.
"While any parent can understand LeBron's excitement, running on to the court was over the top — and likely against league rules for spectator sportsmanship,'' she told TODAY. "LeBron is clearly close with the team and may even act as a pseudo-coach. However, if he is allowed to run on to the court, what's to stop any other parent from doing the same?
"It’s easy to get carried away in the heat of the moment. LeBron lives and breathes basketball, so it’s hard to blame him for having a strong reaction to seeing his son excel at the sport he’s so passionate about. However, the line between being a supportive, engaged, sports-loving parent and being too involved can be easily crossed."