Bronny James ready for pressure after 'surreal' Lakers move

Bronny James says he is ready to deal with the pressure playing alongside his famous father at the <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Los Angeles Lakers;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Los Angeles Lakers</a> (RONALD MARTINEZ)

Bronny James said Tuesday he is ready to deal with the pressure of playing alongside his NBA superstar father LeBron as he was formally unveiled by the Los Angeles Lakers.

The 19-year-old former University of Southern California player, chosen by the Lakers last week with the 55th pick in the NBA Draft, will form the first father-and-son double act in NBA history when he suits up for the Lakers next season.

The Lakers' move for the teenager has been greeted with skepticism in some quarters, with pundits questioning whether the Lakers would have drafted him if he wasn't LeBron James' eldest son.

Bronny James, with dad LeBron standing in the background, addressed those criticisms head on in Tuesday's press conference at the Lakers training facility at El Segundo.

"It's for sure an amplified amount of pressure," Bronny said.

"I've already seen it -- social media and ... the internet and stuff talking about how I might not deserve an opportunity.

"But, you know, I've been dealing with stuff like this my whole life. So it's nothing different. It's more amplified for sure. But I'll get through it."

James, who was unveiled along with fellow draftee Dalton Knecht, was handed his signature yellow and purple Lakers jersey for the first time.

He will wear a No.9 shirt next season emblazoned with "James Jr." on it.

"Everything has been surreal, trying to take it all in," Bronny said about the whirl of emotions he has experienced since being drafted by the Lakers last Thursday.

Bronny said he had not gone into detail about his hopes for his rookie season in talks with his father, who will turn 40 in December in what will be his 22nd season in the NBA.

- 'Work ethic' -

"We haven't gone too deep into that stuff yet, especially since we haven't even started summer league yet.

"But just stuff that he's been telling me my whole life, just having that work ethic and getting your work in and listening to your coaches and being coachable -- something he's driven into my head my whole life."

Bronny appeared with Lakers new head coach J.J. Redick and general manager Rob Pelinka, and expressed gratitude to the front office for "everything (they) have given to me."

That drew a clarification from Redick, who himself was controversially appointed to the Lakers head coaching hot seat last month despite never having coached in the league.

"I want to clarify one thing that you just said, which is Rob and I did not give Bronny anything," Redick said, insisting that the younger James had been recruited on merit.

"Bronny has earned this. Bronny talks about his hard work. Bronny has earned this through hard work," Redick said.

"We view Bronny as like Case Study 1, because his base level of feel, athleticism, point-of-attack defender, shooting, passing, there is a lot to like about his game.

"He's going to have a great opportunity to become an excellent NBA player."

Bronny James, who in July last year suffered a cardiac arrest while practicing with USC in pre-season, said the possibility of playing alongside his father was not a "main focus" of being drawn to the Lakers.

"Rob has told me there's a great development system here, so I just want to come in and put my work in and get better every day," he said. "I never really had a thought of me going to play with my dad, but that's always there ... but that wasn't a main focus."

He said the health scare last year, which restricted his appearances in college basketball, had made him determined to make a success of his NBA move.

"The time that I had off I feel like I could have been perfecting my game more," he said. "Yeah, I just feel like I've been given an opportunity to showcase what I can really do, because I wasn't given that much of an opportunity at USC."