Lakers News: LeBron James Discusses Growth & Popularity Of Women’s College Basketball
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

It is March Madness season with everyone across the country tuning in to see everything that comes with the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is no different, but this year, perhaps more than any other, it is the women’s tournament garnering as much, if not more, attention and viewership than the men.

The Elite Eight meeting between Iowa and LSU, a rematch of last year’s National Championship garnered 12.3 million viewers making it the most watched college basketball game ever on ESPN. That game featured the two most popular players in the women’s game in Iowa’s Caitlin Clark and LSU’s Angel Reese and LeBron believes those big names is driving the popularity of the women’s game up, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

“I don’t think there’s much difference between the men’s and women’s game when it comes to college basketball,” James said after the Lakers’ 125-120 win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday. “I think the popularity comes in with the icons that they have in the women’s game. You look at Angel Reese, you look at JuJu [Watkins], you look at Caitlin Clark, you look at Paige [Bueckers]. You look at the young girl that’s at Iowa State, the freshman there [Audi Crooks]. You look at [Cameron] Brink … at Stanford. And that’s just to name a few. And the freshman that’s at Notre Dame [Hannah Hidalgo]. Because they’re not allowed to go to the NBA [after their freshman year].”

LeBron would continue on, adding that the ability to build a real legacy in college and stay there multiple years also helps to make those stars which leads to more viewers:

“You’re able to build a real iconic legacy at a program,” James said. “And that’s what we all love about it. That’s what we all love. We love the girl’s game because of that moment you actually get to see those girls [build to]. That’s what makes the girl’s Final Four and the Elite Eight so great. Yeah, Iowa was a great team; Caitlin Clark is the reason we tuned in. You’re going to watch Purdue because of Zach Edey, because he’s a great player. We watched that Purdue-Tennessee game because of Zach Edey and [Dalton] Knecht.

“Players, depending on who they are, will drive the attention when it comes to viewership.”

It’s not only Clark and Reese, but as LeBron mentioned, players such as USC’s Juju Watkins, UConn’s Paige Bueckers and Iowa State’s Audi Crooks having to stay multiple years makes a difference:

“It’s just a different time between the men’s and women’s,” James said. “And men can come out after their freshman year. If I have a big-ass season after my freshman year of college basketball, I’m going to the league. If a girl has a great season — like JuJu. JuJu, she can’t come out. If she could, you think she might. Maybe. But that’s the difference.”

The women’s Elite Eight was a must-watch event and for the most part it delivered. The popularity of women’s basketball will only continue to grow and LeBron, like much of the country, will be watching it all.

LeBron James comments on Bronny James entering transfer portal

LeBron James also had a big reason to watch men’s college basketball this year as his son Bronny James was a freshman at USC. And now that the season is done, Bronny announced that he would be entering the NBA Draft, but is also maintaining his college eligibility and will enter the transfer portal.

When this was first rumored, LeBron was asked about it and said that Bronny is his own man who will make his own decisions. The Lakers star added that regardless of what Bronny chooses to do, he and the James family will support him.

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