NBA

Bronny James Is Earning a Different Kind of Currency With FaZe Clan

LeBron James’ son Bronny is trying to earn his spot as the heir to the NBA throne. One of his biggest moves went down this summer. Bronny will reap major benefits from this unique deal, and it’s happening entirely off the court. Just as LeBron diversifies his business interests, Bronny’s choice to join the esports-focused FaZe Clan this summer was key.

This partnership shows he’s interested in promoting himself as a brand, beyond just his skills as a basketball player. Read on for the details on FaZe, and how Bronny stands to gain from an out-of-the-box business relationship where he won’t make a single cent directly.

What Bronny James will gain from partnering with FaZe Clan

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The New York Times reports that FaZe Clan, which started as a small group of Call of Duty players, is on the path to becoming a billion-dollar business concern. It operates primarily as an esports team, sending serious competitors to big-money tournaments and organizing sponsorship deals. But the associated revenue streams with that space quickly gave them expertise in other areas.

That includes a massive social media presence, on streaming platforms like Twitch as well as Twitter and especially Instagram. They regularly put streaming talent over the top, turning young gamers into millionaires. With Bronny, due to his age and potential eligibility issues, they figured out a way to plug him into their massive clout-generating machine nonetheless.

The Washington Post reports that Bronny will represent the brand officially. In turn, they’ll promote his content — streams and social media posts — with their signature aggressiveness. No cash will be directly exchanged according to the terms of the deal. It’s all about growing Bronny as a brand, something the James family has a bit of experience with.

Bronny’s dad LeBron James sets an example of diversifying

With retirement still seemingly years away, LeBron nonetheless throws himself into as many projects off the court as possible. LeBron’s approach to his name and image as a brand, separate from his business interests, sets a great example for Bronny to follow. He regularly throws himself into community development initiatives, with his LeBron James Family Foundation at the center.

On the business end, he’s a major investor in several projects, mainly outside of basketball. A big fan of soccer, he snapped up a major stake in Liverpool FC. It’s paid out tens of millions in profit already, pointing to a James family dynasty in business.

Big Bron also finds opportunities through his management, via United Talent Agency. That’s how he landed the lead spot for the upcoming Space Jam: A New Legacy, as seen on IMDb. The long-in-development picture could do for LeBron’s late career what the first Space Jam did for Michael Jordan’s.

Will Bronny follow in LeBron’s footsteps on and off the court?

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UTA, Hollywood film work, it’s all lucrative stuff. But compared to FaZe Clan, it’s all a bit old school. Bronny, who college recruiters are somewhat cold on, will probably cut a notably different figure than his father.

In sports terms, he’s simply smaller than his dad was. That isn’t to say he doesn’t have the chops to hold his own. According to a scouting report on ClutchPoints, he already demonstrates a rapidly developing basketball IQ. The kinks in his shot are common to players his age. The real difference is, he doesn’t have that once-in-a-generation combination of great shooting and a hulking frame that his father did. Zion Williamson is closer to that ideal.

But as for his ability to build his image, he’s got a lot going for him. That starts with his shrewd move to align himself with FaZe, which is uniquely poised to gain him a different sort of pop-culture profile than his father’s. Even a potentially disastrous slip-up involving posting himself smoking marijuana to his Instagram profile has only raised his profile, triggering a wave of hilarious memes. Bronny won’t be King James — and he really doesn’t need to be.