CAPITOL HEIGHTS, MD -- The month of August is the slowest time of the NBA calendar and following the usual chaos of July, the relative dead period can breed some of the most absurd and pointless controversies. This year, it produced a national debate over whether LeBron James conducts himself properly as an AAU dad.
James was filmed joining the layup line of his son's team, throwing down windmill dunks while surrounded by 14-year-olds as they warmed up for a game. He was also shown running onto the court after an exciting fastbreak play, displaying the enthusiasm he usually reserves for Taco Tuesday.
Some thought James went overboard, that he shouldn't be that involved in the action, that no other parent would be allowed to join a layup line, so why should he? Nevermind the fact being in a layup line as a freshman in high school with one of the greatest basketball players of all-time would be an objectively awesome experience.
Naturally, those who criticized James were met with a tsunami of backlash. No one these days has a weak opinion on anything. It has to be strong because since arguments are never actually settled on social media, they might as well be as vicious as possible.
Wizards point guard John Wall knows James well and watched the whole thing transpire last week. As a friend, a peer of James' and a new father, he has some thoughts.
"It's a gift and a curse being who we are. There's nothing you can do right," Wall told NBC Sports Washington at his backpack giveaway in Prince George's County.
"At the end of the day, in the position we're in, if we're not doing enough then we're not good enough. When we're doing too much then it's too much."
What stood out to Wall the most was James being a supportive father. Wall's father wasn't alive when he was 14, the age James' son Bronny currently is now. James himself didn't grow up with his father in the picture.
"You don't have a lot of dads that have the opportunity to be at their kid's game. When I grew up, my dad was in jail and my dad passed. So, I didn't have a father around," Wall said.
Wall says he will probably go pretty wild himself when his son, Ace, is old enough to play organized basketball, though he won't be pushy in forcing him to play. If his son does want to play, Wall will be there to support him much like James does with his kids now.
"Look at some of those kids that don't have a father figure. LeBron is that for those guys. To see him at games, it's just a blessing," Wall said.
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