NORTH AUGUSTA, SC — Each year, several NBA players flock to the Riverview Park Activity Center two hours outside of Atlanta to watch and help train the next generation of young talent to come. This year, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James showed up Wednesday night to coach his son, Bryce, and his 16-and-under Strive For Greatness team. If having one of the best players in the world playing as head coach wasn’t enough, sitting right next to James on the bench was four-time All-Star Rajon Rondo.
The three coaches on the bench wore matching polo shirts and team shorts and were active throughout the match, looking into the careers of these young players and giving them advice. It was a close game as the two teams faced off, but the Florida Rebels took the win, 72-67, as they go 3-0 in pool play. Strive For Greatness is now 1-1 against a very tough Mokan Elite (Kansas) on Thursday night. Bryce, a 6-foot-4 shooter in the 2025 high school class, finished with nine points in the loss and couldn’t get things done from behind the perimeter, going 1-for-6 to 3-pointers.
This isn’t the first time James has coached at Peach Jam. Two years ago, he was on the bench again coaching his eldest son, Bronny, in a game against Juwan Howard’s son (and No. 11 overall in this year’s NBA Draft) Jett Howard. Coach James is very active, initiating plays, working out different scenarios during time outs and pulling players out to correct mistakes.
Rondo has been involved in coaching the next generation of young talent since 2018, when he coached at the NBPA Top 100 camp and continued to show up regularly during the offseason at different camps and tournaments to spread his knowledge. of the game, especially at the point guard position.
Earlier on Wednesday afternoon, Chris Paul took to the bench for his team EYBL, CP3, as they played the team final (Pennsylvania) in the main gymnasium. For the past 10 years, Paul has traveled to North Augusta with his family to help coach Peach Jam each year. Former players on his program include Montrezl Harrell, Theo Pinson, Wendell Carter Jr., Coby White and this year’s 45th pick in the NBA Draft, GG Jackson.
In August, Paul will host 25 of the top guards from the incoming high school class and freshmen and sophomores for his CP3 camp in Los Angeles. Last year he invited other NBA players like Devin Booker, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan to play 5-on-5 with the younger players, an experience many prospects don’t have. .
Carmelo Anthony’s son, Kiyan, is playing a split at Peach Jam for Team Melo with Anthony taking part in every game this week. Recently retired Anthony is a familiar face at the AAU’s biggest event and has been on the sidelines all spring and summer to support his son and his team. Last year, Anthony was at Peach Jam to help coach Cam Whitmorewho ranked No. 20 overall for the Houston Rockets in this year’s draft, and was seated courtside for the blockbuster game between Cooper Flagg and Cameron Boozer on Wednesday morning.
Of all the NBA stars and former players who show up to help coach and support high school players at the biggest AAU event of the summer, Bradley Beal is the most consistent figure on his team, Brad Beal Elite. Not only does he show up as a coach at Peach Jam, but he’s also been on the sidelines for the majority of EYBL regular season games. Beal coached Wednesday’s close game against top three incoming senior class Tre Johnson and Houston Hoops as Brad Beal Elite won, 55-52. Jayson Tatum, Darius Garland, Moses Moody, Brandon Miller (the No. 2 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft), and Nick Smith Jr. all played for Beal’s program before reaching the NBA.
NBA scouts have been at Peach Jam since Monday and starting Thursday, college coaches are allowed to scout and sign players on the 84 teams participating in the biggest summer stage. While the focus is on the players and their performance on the court, it will be hard for coaches and scouts not to take a peek on the sidelines with all the NBA star power in the building. this week.