Are Arch Manning and Bronny James beneficiaries of nepotism?

Arch Manning and Bronny James, despite being top earners in the Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) landscape, share a common factor: they are arguably two of the biggest products of nepotism in sports.

Texas' Arch Manning and USC's Bronny James share a common trait among sports fans: being seen as products of nepotism in sports.
Texas' Arch Manning and USC's Bronny James share a common trait among sports fans: being seen as products of nepotism in sports.  © Collage: Kevin C. Cox & Christian Petersen / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Even before making waves at Texas and USC, respectively, Arch Manning and Bronny James were already among the most talked-about names in college football and basketball.

The hype surrounding their talents and future achievements at the college level often surpassed that of established players in their programs.

As a high school senior, James was valued in the multimillions in NIL deals, all without playing a single NCAA game.

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Manning, even as a third-string quarterback in high school, outshone Heisman-winning quarterbacks in terms of NIL money, attention and expectations.

While this might be perplexing to some, the explanation is simple: their family background.

Manning is the grandson of NFL legend Archie Manning and the nephew of NFL icons Peyton and Eli Manning. James is the son of LeBron James, arguably one of the greatest basketball players ever.

The two young stars' rise to fame wasn't solely based on their athletic prowess, unlike players such as CJ Stroud or Reed Sheppard, but also on their familial connections to sports legends.

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Despite a low performing season, Bronny James is still being considered for 2024 NBA Draft.
Despite a low performing season, Bronny James is still being considered for 2024 NBA Draft.  © EZRA SHAW / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

In Bronny James' defense, the 18-year-old had a late start to this season due to a tragic cardiac arrest over the summer.

He didn't get his first start on the court until January of this year. Since then, he hasn't had any noteworthy performances, only averaging 5 points per game.

Despite his limited playing time and less-than-stellar performances, NBA teams are reportedly considering drafting him, largely due to his father's legacy.

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This has sparked criticism from fans and experts, who argue that Bronny is benefiting from nepotism as his skill level is not ready for the NBA.

Arch Manning has long way to go before becoming starter

Arch Manning still has a journey ahead before becoming a starter even as a former five-star, No. 1 overall recruit.
Arch Manning still has a journey ahead before becoming a starter even as a former five-star, No. 1 overall recruit.  © CHRIS GRAYTHEN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

Arch Manning still has a journey ahead before becoming a starter. Despite on-field improvements, Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian doesn't see him as a starter yet.

Sarkisian even mentioned that Manning isn't in contention for the starting quarterback position, with Quinn Ewers leading the pack.

Manning's family keeps him grounded, despite his million-dollar NIL valuation, which he can't cash in on until he becomes a starter.

However, Manning's recent decision to opt out of the upcoming EA Sports college football video game has sparked criticism from fans. Many believe the move reflects nepotism, as Manning comes from a well-known football family and can afford to "opt out."

Bronny James and Arch Manning are undoubtedly talented young athletes. However, only time will reveal the true extent of their skill without relying on the fame of their families.

Cover photo: Collage: Kevin C. Cox & Christian Petersen / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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