Like It Or Not, Bronny James Is A First Round NBA Talent

Bronny James

We need to talk about Bronny James. 

I tried to tell you. I’ve had a front row seat to the evolution of LeBron James’ oldest son as a basketball prospect. And when I say front row seat I mean literally. Our kids were classmates.

He’s good. And while I don’t always agree with what a recruiting service deems an elite prospect, 247, Rivals, On3- they’re all in the right for having Bronny shoot up the rankings. 

You might be saying to yourself- “George, you played in the NFL, what do you know about hoops?”

Listen, before there was football George, there was basketball George.

I know what a good player looks like. I played with and against plenty of them. 

You might want to believe that Bronny is just getting the juice because his dad is LeBron, and his name drives clicks, but this kid is a 6-2, naturally gifted shooter with an enormous, effortless vertical. Are those not the exact things people love about Ja Morant?

Bronny has always played against the toughest competition available, has always had a target on his back, and still manages to shake off pressure and let the game come to him. 

In the McDonald’s All-American game, if someone wanted to make their name shutting down “the prince,” that would have been the time to do it. But instead, Bronny went 5/8 from deep, and hit a clutch corner three with a minute left that gave the West a late lead.

Bronny can play point. He can play off the ball. He can drive. He can slash. He can spot up. Like it or not, Bronny is completely worthy of the grade he’s getting.

I’m not saying he’ll be a lottery pick. He still needs to prove himself at the college level, hopefully at Oregon, and there’s always an international name or two that bumps talented college players down a spot or two come NBA Draft time, but you’d have to be a hater to deny that Bronny James is an NBA talent.

They say don’t hate the player, hate the game, but if you hate Bronny James as a prospect, you must hate the game. 

And if you like Bronny, wait until you see Bryce

LeBron might be 38, but King James’ Monarchy is in good hands. 

Let that sink in.

People Like Me Are Watching the Women’s Tournament in Record Numbers. You Should Be Watching, Too.

We need to talk about the ratings the NCAA women’s tournament is getting. 

That’s right, I said we need to talk about women’s basketball. 

If you’re one of those cornballs that tweets “kitchen” in the mentions of any WNBA highlight, you might want to close this internet window and go spend some time staring directly into the sun, or doing whatever else caused you to act so damaged.

For the rest of you, let’s get into the numbers. So far, the women’s tournament has an average viewership of 660,000 per game– a 42-percent viewership increase from 2022.

ESPN says the Sweet 16 round’s 1.2 million viewers per-game is a 73 percent jump over last season, and the women’s Elite Eight viewership averaged 2.2 million- up 43 percent over 2022

And get this- ESPN says the Iowa/Louisville Elite 8 game drew more viewers than any NBA game they’ve broadcasted this season. Most importantly for ESPN, before all these ratings went gangbusters, Disney Advertising sold out of in-game sponsorship opportunities. Capital One, Nissan and others are getting crazy bang for their buck right now, and you can guarantee there will be a priority for next year’s ad slots thanks to these ratings.

Other people watching something isn’t necessarily a reason you should watch. The reason you should be watching is that the athletes are as good as they’ve ever been, and the storylines are as entertaining as they’ve ever been. The top teams are fun, flashy, talk trash, star in commercials, and play the game the right way. 

I’ll never understand people that say they’ll never watch a women’s game because it’s an inferior product- Keeping up with the Kardashians isn’t the same quality as Breaking Bad, but they both do numbers because they’re both entertaining. 

Iowa’s Caitlin Clark dropped a 40-point triple double. Are you not entertained?

Louisville’s Hailey Van Lith, a former Kobe Bryant protégé, bounced Texas out of the sweet 16 and talked trash in the handshake line after the game. Are you not entertained?

The Cavinder Twins, formerly of Fresno State, propelled Miami to an Elite 8 while leading the charge on all that is possible for capitalizing on your own Name, Image and Likeness- plus Haley Cavinder shushing 1-seed Indiana after a game-sealing free throw is as cold blooded as it gets. Are you not entertained?

Kim Mulkey’s insane outfits every time LSU takes the court. Angel Reese with six different 20-point, 20-rebound performances this season. Dawn Staley turning South Carolina into the new UConn with 42-straight wins. Virginia Tech making their first ever Final Four behind 6-6 Liz Kitley, the most consistent player in the country over the last three years. How can you not be entertained?

You can stay sleeping on the women’s tournament if you want to, but why would you want to? 

This Friday night you can catch me watching LSU/Va Tech and Iowa/South Carolina. Tune in with me. You just might enjoy yourself. 

Let that sink in.

The Panthers’ Choice at #1 is Clear- Bryce Young No Matter What.

bryce young

We need to talk about what the Carolina Panthers should do with the #1 pick.

Last week the Carolina Panthers made sure that absolutely zero fans of their team own a current player’s jersey by sending wide receiver DJ Moore and several draft picks to Chicago for the #1 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.

The Panthers need help. Owner David Tepper pulled the plug on Head Coach Matt Rhule last year just 38 games into a seven year contract. They traded Christian McCaffrey last year. They gave up on trying to make both Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield their quarterback of the future. 

Things are so bad for the Panthers that they even bailed out of plans to build an $800 million practice facility in nearby Rock Hill, South Carolina, with Tepper’s real estate company declaring bankruptcy in the middle of construction.

Now, after deciding to hire Frank Reich to lead the team moving forward, both Reich and the Panthers are in desperate need of the one thing that has kept them from having consistent success in this league over the last few years- a franchise quarterback.

But which one?

Look guys, don’t overthink this. Yeah, you had lightning in a bottle with Cam Newton, but you’re not going to recreate it with Anthony Richardson out of Florida.

You could have gotten that Cam Newton feeling back by pursuing Lamar Jackson, but you wanted a fresh start. It’s not what I would have done, but I respect it. 

And I know that there are some people that believe Panthers QB coach Josh McCown is the next Bill Belichick, but even old Bill is looking mighty human without a Hall of Fame quarterback under center. 

Rumor has it that Frank Reich believes Ohio State’s CJ Stroud should be the Panthers QB of the future, while owner David Tepper is trending more toward selecting Alabama’s Bryce Young.

I haven’t said this often, but this time I’m going to say it loudly and say it with my chest. 

David Tepper is right. 

The Panthers need someone low maintenance. Someone that won’t run into danger. Someone that makes all the right reads, and gets the ball out quickly. 

This is simple, Carolina.

All Bryce Young needs to be an NFL star is time and patience. I know Josh McCown is in the building, but he’s not going to suit up if Young isn’t ready to compete on day 1. 

So I want to applaud the Panthers for going out and getting Andy Dalton– Someone that can give you 8-10 solid starts while showing Bryce the ropes of what it takes on a day-to-day basis to be a successful quarterback in this league. 

And when Dalton has given you everything they have left in the tank, let Bryce loose, and give your fan base some things to look forward to as you head into the next offseason. 

I don’t begrudge the Panthers if they kick the tires on CJ Stroud. He’s an elite prospect, and he has the one thing Bryce Young doesn’t- size.

But on Draft Day, you better pull that post-it out of your pocket like Kevin Costner and take the one player that can give your franchise and its fans hope for the next decade plus.

Bryce Young no matter what. 

Let that sink in.

Eric Bienemy Bet On Himself With Move to Commanders. I’m Betting On Him Too.


We need to talk about Eric Bienemy betting on himself and moving to a play calling role with the Washington Commanders

Year after year, the goalposts were moved for Eric Bienemy. 

He reportedly interviewed for 17 of the 23 NFL head coaching job openings since 2019. And unless he was walking into the room with drool on his chin and his fly unzipped, the collective decision to hire anyone but him has become one of the more frustrating and fascinating aspects of the yearly coaching carousel. 

And if he was out here tanking interviews, you can absolutely guarantee that the NFL’s premier newsbreakers like Ian Rapoport and Adam Schefter would assist any owner or general manager in anonymously slandering Bienemy- and that just hasn’t happened.

I’ve talked at length before that it’s not as simple as racism. People hire who they’re comfortable with, whether through word of mouth, prior work experience, or a cookie cutter idea of what a good leader looks like. You’re far more likely to get an owner to sign off on a hire because of the way an interviewee makes them feel than because of that candidate’s offensive or defensive schematics. 

Think about the way we elect politicians. The best person to enact positive policy change is rarely the person we’d be most comfortable having a beer with, but that’s an enormous factor in the way that we vote. 

The “likeability” factor influencing our decisions is probably a good reason why so many things in this country are broken. And it’s definitely a reason why there’s an average of a 20% turnover year over year in the NFL’s head coaching ranks.

These rich old men would rather pay multi year buyouts to men that remind them of their grandsons than give a shot to someone that has been a part of 10 consecutive winning seasons, eight consecutive playoff appearances, five consecutive AFC Championships, and three different Super Bowl runs. 

Around now is when I’ll have people start bursting through the wall to tell me that “Eric Bienemy doesn’t call plays!” First of all, it’s a collaborative effort in Kansas City. Just ask Doug Pederson, who got hired by the Eagles after sharing play calling duties with Reid. Or ask Matt Nagy. Or ask Brad Childress. 

It’s extremely common to hire a head coach that isn’t the primary play caller, and it’s certainly more common to hire someone that didn’t call the offense in their previous job than it is to be a successful head coach that does call your team’s offense! Andy Reid, Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan are the exception, not the rule. 

Maybe the Colts and Cardinals hires will work out. The Colts are in need of someone that can get the most out of a young quarterback, and so maybe it makes sense for them to go with Shane Steichen, who helped Jalen Hurts become a Super Bowl caliber player over the last two years. 

But Arizona? They went from giving offensive “genius” Kliff Kingsbury a five year extension last year, to hiring a defensive minded head coach whose defense gave up about a billion second half points on the Cardinals home field earlier in the week. Maybe they figured that Kyler Murray already showed enough contempt for one of Patrick Mahomes former coaches, but the difference between Bienemy and Kingsbury is that one of them spends every January on a beach and one spends every January on a sideline. 

And one of them won more games at State Farm Stadium this season than the other did in eight tries this season. Yikes.

At the end of the day, Eric Bienemy was forced to leave a great job, working for a great man, and coaching one of the greatest talents we’ve ever seen, just to prove to his doubters that he checks more boxes than many of his peers. 

It’s hard to feel sorry for someone whose fallback plan of staying with the Chiefs would be most coaches’ fantasy, but he’s walking into a Washington Commanders situation where the offense was actually good last year. Seriously, look it up. Despite all the issues at QB, and the inability to finish drives, and the turnover problems, this was a team that moved the ball well despite being in a division with three playoff defenses. 

Bienemy is walking a tightrope for a traditionally snakebitten franchise, with no guarantee that success is going to earn him the opportunity he’s looking for. 

You have to respect his decision, and the risk involved. There’s gonna be a whole lot of NFL GM’s and fan bases rooting for his failure simply to justify past decisions. And even if he does succeed in Washington D.C., the only thing he’ll be earning is an opportunity to have those same people root for him to fail as a head coach, all to say that they’ve been right all along. 

But for every hater, like his former RB Shady McCoy, Bienemy has legions of people like me, and Patrick Mahomes, that are much more interested in seeing him prove the doubters wrong and carve out a place for himself as a head coach in this league.

And if that day ever comes, the “I told you so’s” are going to rain from the sky like Super Bowl confetti. And I’ll be here for it.

Let that sink in.

Chael Sonnen is a Clown for Accusing LeBron and Tiger of PED Use

chael sonnen

We need to talk about Chael Sonnen accusing LeBron James and Tiger Woods of using Performance Enhancing Drugs.

Chael Sonnen went on the Flagrant 2 Podcast and said : 

“James and I have the same drug guy,” and added that LeBron and Tiger Woods take “the big three” of EPO, growth hormone and testosterone, AKA the “Lance Armstrong diet.”


First of all, do you know the amount of money there is in unearthing a scandal about either one of the two most visible and divisive athletes in American history?

Entire networks schedules and personal fortunes have been built off of nitpicking LeBron and Tiger. 

Do you really think that if LeBron James had such a loosey-goosey drug guy that Chael Sonnen of all people would be the one to break the news of his PED use while casually hanging out on a podcast?

It’s also true that there’s plenty of people out there that love LeBron enough to want to protect him, but trust me on this- you don’t go through 20 years of being the most visible athlete in America without a scandal because a few favorable relationships with website publishers and media moguls. 

The price on LeBron’s head is enough to to tempt even his most well-intentioned Apostles to pull a Judas.

But let’s say it’s true. I don’t believe for a second that LeBron is blood doping, but let’s say that he is.

Do you really think LeBron James would be this reckless? Sharing a personal doctor with other athletes, much less a loudmouth admitted cheat and convicted money launderer with a half dozen scandals of using blatant racism to mock his fight opponents?

Based on his track record, I’d be more inclined to believe that Chael Sonnen saw a tall black man walking out of his “doctor’s” office and just assumed it was LeBron James. 

The NBA tests for performance enhancing drugs up to six times per year. Based on when LeBron came into the NBA, it’s possible he’s the most tested athlete in the history of the league. 

And while the NBA loves the attention LeBron brings to the league, there’s no chance they’d look the other way and risk a massive hit to their credibility if a PED scandal broke out, and the same can be said for Nike. Uncle Phil doesn’t want anyone thinking anything but the shoes on King James’ feet are enhancing his performance. 

It will be interesting to see if Chael Sonnen, an ESPN employee, is pushed to elaborate on his accusations. 

And while some are calling for LeBron to sue Sonnen, I doubt he even gives this accusation any time or energy.

At the end of the day, Chael Sonnen was either lied to, or he’s a liar. 

Based on his track record, there’s a very good chance it’s the latter. 

Let that sink in.

Ja Morant’s Redemption is What the Culture Needs

Ja Morant NBA

We need to talk about Ja Morant and the importance of the moment he’s in.

Ja Morant is a lot of things. 

He’s an underdog. Despite the state of South Carolina crawling with scouts due to Zion Williamson being one of the top players in the country out of high school, Ja Morant went from unevaluated and unranked by recruiting services, to the NCAA tournament and the second pick in the NBA draft in a matter of two and a half years.  

For people that don’t understand how basketball recruiting and evaluating works at the youth level, there is almost no such thing as a player coming out of nowhere. Aaron Rodgers and Josh Allen stories aren’t a thing in the NBA. 

Ja Morant is a unicorn. 

No one has ever averaged 20 points and 10 assists at the college level. Ja did it. 

And it’s one thing to come into the league as an elite passer and scorer. It’s another thing entirely to come in with a 44-inch vertical and without an ounce of fear in your heart.

He deserved Rookie of the Year. He deserves his All-Star nods. He deserves his signature Nike. And whether he deserves it or not, he is the most culturally impactful athlete for black youth in this country since Allen Iverson. 

The hair. The swag. The flash. The pride. Ja Morant isn’t just an athlete, he a movement. 

And that’s why we need this man to figure his shit out. Because for some reason, every single generation thinks they can conquer the fast life like it’s an unathletic seven footer under the basket. 

But the fast life is undefeated. And every generation has to sacrifice some of its young heroes to their vices for the rest of us to learn the lessons that keep us around for another 60 years. 

Ja Morant doesn’t need to be one of those sacrifices. Kids today don’t need another cultural cautionary tale. They’ve had plenty. They need a redemption story. 

They need someone to put the tequila away when they’d rather do the opposite.

They need someone to put the guns away when they’d rather do the opposite.

They need someone to swallow their pride and know their own value in moments of conflict instead of always having to prove it to people who don’t matter. 

Anyone that escapes the clutches of the fast life in their 20’s does so out of good fortune. I’m fortunate, and I know a lot of other very fortunate people. 

It’s a wild switch to go from aspiring to live like a king, to admiring the people with the means to live like a king, who choose a different path. 

Ask any retired athlete and most will tell you that once they’ve fulfilled all their desires, one of the only desires they have left is do it all over again and replace indulgence with wisdom.

Ja Morant might be special, but he’s not so special that he won’t have to pay the piper. And God forbid that payment comes at the expense of yourself AND others, like it did for Henry Ruggs. 

They say that every hero lives long enough to see themselves become the villain, and maybe that’s true, but the villain story doesn’t have to be Ja Morant’s last chapter. The redemption chapter is what I’m here for. 

I just hope that’s what Ja Morant is here for as well. 

Let that sink in.

The Baltimore Ravens Might Have Won This Round of Chicken With Lamar Jackson, But At What Cost?

We need to talk about Lamar Jackson’s value. 

Let’s just get it out of the way- of course the owners are colluding to avoid having to pay Lamar Jackson $200+ million guaranteed. 

But they’re not colluding against Lamar Jackson as much as they ARE colluding against Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, who gave Deshaun Watson almost a quarter of a billion fully guaranteed dollars. 

NFL owners didn’t love that Haslam unnecessarily reset the market for elite passers, which has led to average quarterbacks like Daniel Jones and Geno Smith inking deals that give them a 2023 total salary beyond any single season payday Tom Brady made in his 23-year career. 

You’re worth what you’re worth, and the Cleveland Browns were desperate. You’re not going to hear me blaming Deshaun Watson for agreeing to get paid- though he will need to find a way to restructure if he ever wants his team to be competitive. 

Because the Browns are already 8 digits over the 2023 salary cap, and other teams see that. 

We’ve heard the Bills general manager talk about the advantage that the Bengals have right now with their QB on a rookie deal. If even the Bills are having a little bit of buyer’s remorse in having to pay Josh Allen market value, it stands to reason that the Ravens would be cautious and weigh all their options, even if they have a QB that has won an MVP award in the building.

And it’s no secret that at times, Lamar Jackson, who acts as his own agent, hasn’t seen eye to eye with the Ravens front office. The last two quarterbacks that got big money extensions despite not always getting along with the front office were Aaron Rodgers and Kyler Murray, and money didn’t change a thing. 

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are headed for a divorce, and Kyler Murray not only won the divorce with his Cardinals Head Coach and GM, but got full custody of the team. 

Last year, when the contract that the Jaguars gave Christian Kirk re-set the wide receiver market, so many players asked for a trade or an extension that NFL front offices had no choice but to do whatever they could to salvage the locker room. The players had strength in numbers. 

This time, it’s just Lamar Jackson. The NFL vs. Lamar. 

And don’t let anyone tell you this is a race issue. Most of the NFL’s highest paid quarterbacks are black. 

This is about Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, who is a billionaire owner of an international talent acquisition and management firm, deciding to play chicken with his star QB on behalf of his colleagues.

And playing chicken is fine if there’s a reward to your risk, but what is the reward here? Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert’s agents just watched Daniel Jones ink a deal for $40 million per year for putting up season long stats that their clients typically reach by week 10. 

Even if the Deshaun Watson contract is an anomaly paid out by an owner who can afford it, because he’s one of the only executives at Flying J that didn’t go to jail for scamming truckers, the Jones and Smith contracts make the Watson deal look reasonable. 

Steve Bisciotti might have won the day by making Lamar Jackson’s franchise tag non-exclusive, to show his quarterback that there isn’t a 2023 market in which a team is willing to commit $200 million and two first round picks… but the day is fading. 

Lamar Jackson is getting paid by someone. And if Steve Bisciotti isn’t careful, he will have proven his point only to have to turn around and pay $200 million to an average quarterback two years down the road, rather than rewarding the MVP in the building.

Let that sink in.

Pac-12 Apostles Podcast (3/1/2023): Reaction to Deion Sanders Comments, Is the Pac-12 on its Death Bed? 2023 Heisman Odds, Plus Our Take on Jaden Rashada

After a February hiatus, the Pac-12 Apostles Podcast is back! George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden discuss what the recruiting trail has been like for George’s son, and how the comments Deion Sanders made about wanting a certain type of quarterback hits close to home for the Wrighsters. Will the Pac-12 ever find a media partner, or should we be making funeral plans for the conference? The guys get into some of the staff changes at Cal, UCLA and Oregon as well as Bo Nix, Michael Penix Jr. and Caleb Williams being 2023 Heisman favorites, before talking about Jaden Rashada’s path to Arizona State.

Apple Podcasts // Spotify // PocketCasts // Google Play // Stitcher // RadioPublic // iHeart

Who are the Pac-12 Apostles?

The Pac-12 Apostles is a podcast for fans who love the Pac-12 conference. George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden are committed to the honest and fair conversation about the conference. Join us by becoming a Pac-12 Apostle. Subscribe and share the podcast.

Please leave a rating and review of our podcast on iTunes! We record a podcast once a week with emergency episodes when necessary. Our podcasts are always heavy on Pac-12 football. But we make it a point to also try and cover the other notable Men’s and Women’s Pac-12 sports. We cover recruiting and any other major storyline in the Pac-12 universe.

George Wrighster is a former Pac-12 and long-time NFL tight end. As a television/radio host, opinionist, and analyst, who is UNAFRAID to speak the truth. Contrary to industry norms he uses, facts, stats, and common sense to win an argument. He has covered college football, basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB since 2014. Through years of playing college football, covering bowl games, coaching changes, and scandals, he has a great pulse for the conference and national perspective.

Ralph Amsden is a sportswriter and podcaster. He is the publisher of Rivals’, Content Director for, and was previously the managing editor of the Arizona State University Rivals affiliate, Wyoming born, Arizona raised, and now based in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and four kids, Amsden made his mark in Arizona sports media through investigative reporting, and being one of the first people to leverage social media and the podcast medium to grow his platform. . Ralph might be sub-.500 in spousal disputes and schoolyard fights, but whether the topic is food, movies, music, parenting, politics, sports, television, religion, or zoological factoids, he’s always UNAFRAID to square up.