Popular gaming clan FaZe has welcomed basketball legend LeBron James’ teenage son Bronny as a member, but reps have been quick to point out the 15-year-old won’t be making any money from the affiliation.
FaZe began as a gaming clan making trickshot videos but has spent the past decade building a large audience and is now seeking to transition into a more general culture and lifestyle brand as it receives outside investment from people including Migos rapper Offset and Australian NBA star Ben Simmons (also a member under the name FaZe Simmo).
That ongoing transition is extremely evident in the welcome video it released on Sunday to celebrate its new member FaZe Bronny.
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Bronny’s dad LeBron is one of the best basketball players the world’s premier league the NBA has ever seen, and some of that talent has clearly been passed on to his son, who is shown leaping over a mate to dunk a ball on a store’s mini hoop, as well as slamming in dunks and dropping difficult lay-ups over opponents while playing for his high school team Sierra Canyon throughout the video.
There’s also time for recognising Bronny’s work on viral video app TikTok, where he has 4.3 million followers.
Of course he wasn’t going to get the FaZe call-up just because he’s good at basketball and has a lot of social media followers, he also shows off some decent chops in rounds of Fortnite and Call of Duty that are dispersed through the video.
But gaming is not the teen’s main focus.
“Me joining FaZe don’t change anything,” he said on Instagram following the announcement.
“I’m still locked, coming for heads.”
His father added it to his own Instagram story with the caption “Straight up Simba!” followed by a padlock and a king emoji.
While LeBron appears supportive of Bronny’s FaZe membership, FaZe reps have been quick to point out he won’t be making any money for it.
“He does not have a contract with FaZe,” a clan representative told TMZ.
“He joined as our newest member. It‘s a very authentic relationship that developed between FaZe talent and Bronny directly.”
“As an avid gamer himself, Bronny developed a relationship with FaZe talent over time playing CoD, Fortnite, NBA2K and more at a high skill level, and often with other FaZe members.
“Everyone is incredibly excited to have him as our newest member,” the rep added.
While Bronny certainly doesn’t need the money at this stage in his life (or likely will in the future), the reason FaZe have made the clarification is likely to do with the way Bronny plans to make money in the future.
His dad LeBron went straight into the NBA out of high school, but the rules changed in 2006, meaning high school players can’t go straight into the league.
Now they have to be at least 19 and at least one-year out of high school.
Most draft prospects go and play college basketball while some go overseas to play in leagues like Australia’s own NBL.
But while Bronny is playing high-school, or even college basketball, he’s not allowed to make any money for it, or for endorsements relating to it.
If the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) believed his membership of FaZe was making him money, and if it believes his basketball ability was the primary reason for that, it could impact Bronny’s eligibility, which is likely the reason FaZe was so quick to point out the membership was on a casual and informal basis, for now at least.