Raising an NBA Star: The Journey of Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole-Barnes

Jayson Tatum’s parents, Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole-Barnes, have always been there for their son, all the way through his basketball career, from high school and college to the NBA.

Jayson Tatum attributes his current level of accomplishment in the world of athletics to the “tough love” that he received from his parents, Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole-Barnes.

During their time as students at Saint Louis University, Justin and Brandy gave birth to their son Jayson on March 3, 1998. While growing up, the future star of the Boston Celtics spent time at both of his parents’ schools, despite the fact that Justin and Brandy never lived together and eventually ended their relationship. When he was younger, he would accompany his mother to courses at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, and when his father was playing basketball at Saint Louis University, he would frequently find himself in the locker room with his father.

Jayson is what he calls a “mama’s boy,” and he told ESPN in November 2016 that his mother, Brandy, is his “best friend.” He further stated, “I’m the biggest mama’s boy ever, and I’m proud to say it.”

Parental Pioneers: How Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole-Barnes Raised an NBA Star

Growing up, the NBA star’s connection with his father was one of the more challenging aspects of his life. Jayson was raised primarily by his mother, while his father went back to the United States from Europe when Jayson was 8 years old to pursue a career as a professional basketball player in the Netherlands. Jayson never lived with his father. Jayson gives thanks to his father for assisting him in advancing farther in his career, despite the fact that he has been on the receiving end of harsh criticism and coaching approaches from his father.

“He saw the potential in me before I saw it in myself, so having him be that tough on me in basketball really you know, made me tougher on and off the court,” Jayson explained to KSDK.

The following provides information regarding Jayson Tatum’s parents, Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole-Barnes, including all pertinent details.

When Jayson was born, they were both enrolled in college.

Parental Pioneers: How Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole-Barnes Raised an NBA Star

According to WCVB, Brandy had a full athletic scholarship waiting for her at the University of Tennessee when she graduated from high school at University City High. This was due to her participation on the varsity volleyball team for all four years of her high school career. In addition to being one of the top five students in her graduating class, she also served as the president of the senior class.According to ESPN, she found out she was expecting Jayson just a few weeks after she graduated from high school and became pregnant. She chose to pursue a degree in political science and communications at a local college in St. Louis rather than attending a school outside of the area. She also maintained a number of part-time jobs in addition to her studies to assist in covering the costs of daycare and tuition.”It was really tough, but it was what I felt like I had to do for both of us,” she said while speaking to the outlet about her decision.It was a tradition that Brandy continued all the way through her further education, including when she attended business school and law school. During her college years, Brandy would bring Jayson to class with her. In an article that he authored for The Players’ Tribune in April of 2016, Jayson reflected on the time that he and his mother spent attending school together. According to him, “I remember sitting in the back of her classes, eating snacks or immersing myself in books or video games.””I kept quiet, listening in here and there — to me, most of her professors seemed boring and talked a lot,” he explained further. “However, I had my own things to concentrate on, and she had her own. It was like every other day. So that’s what ended up happening. When my mother did not have enough money for a babysitter and my grandmother was still working, my grandmother and I would attend school together.At the period in question, Justin was enrolled at Saint Louis University and participating in the basketball program there. It would be an opportunity for Jayson to spend time with his father in the locker room as well as on the court, where he would be able to witness the pre-game speeches firsthand. On the other hand, during his formative years, his mother was the primary caregiver for him.In the world of basketball, Justin was a big deal.

Parental Pioneers: How Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole-Barnes Raised an NBA Star

Jayson followed in his dad’s footsteps when it came to being a star in the NBA. Justin played basketball at Christian Brothers College high school with his son’s future godfather, former NBA star Larry Hughes. He went on to play basketball at Saint Louis University in college, where he balanced fatherhood and his burgeoning athletic career.

After he graduated from college, Justin went on to play basketball professionally in the Netherlands for three years, where Brandy would travel with Jayson so he could visit his father. Justin told Ladue News that it was “tough” being in the Netherlands for 10 months out of the year and away from his son. In his spare time while overseas, he’d help coach youth teams, a skillset he carried with him back to the U.S. as he transitioned into being a coach rather than a player.

After his professional career came to a close, he went on to become the assistant basketball coach at his alma mater, Christian Brothers College, for the 2006-2007, season before accepting a position at Soldan International Studies High School. Justin eventually returned to his alma mater as head coach, where he has been for over 10 consecutive seasons, according to his website. He has also hosted youth camps for over a decade to give kids a chance to learn basketball and forge new friendships.

Justin was Jayson’s coach, which affected their relationship

Parental Pioneers: How Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole-Barnes Raised an NBA Star

As he got older, Jayson’s father acted as his trainer and coach to help him achieve his dream of playing basketball professionally. The Celtics star has said that neither his mother nor his father “took it easy” and “were extremely tough” on him, especially his dad. Speaking to Graham Bensinger in October 2022, Jayson got candid about how his father’s coaching “put a strain” on their relationship.

“I feel like I missed out on a father-son relationship,” he said. “Me and my dad only ever went to games or practice and to get haircuts. We didn’t go to amusement parks. We didn’t go to picnics, or fishing, or really have father-son talks because it was just all basketball.”

Jayson said that his father would often swear at him and embarrass him in front of his teammates, including throwing the ball at him. He explained, “In his eyes, he wanted me to be the toughest. He wanted me to be the best.”

“And that was his way … like if he made me upset, I would play better and in a sense, I did,” he continued. “I would get so upset. I would get so angry that I would play better.”

Despite the difficult relationship he had with Justin growing up, Jayson cites the tough love he received from him as the reason for his success today. He explained, “He was so tough on me, which I appreciate, because I wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t.”

In the years since, Jayson has grown very close with his dad, and the father-son duo have mended their relationship.

Brandy is an attorney

Parental Pioneers: How Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole-Barnes Raised an NBA StarJAYSON TATUM INSTAGRAM

Brandy holds several different degrees, including a law degree, which she earned in 2010. When she was in law school, Jayson would often be by her side and would flip through some of her textbooks as she studied.

While speaking to Bleacher Report, she recalled one moment where he declared that he didn’t want to read “these kind of books” and that he just wanted to play basketball, to which she’d tell him, “Well, you better work really hard.”

Justin has two other children

Parental Pioneers: How Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole-Barnes Raised an NBA StarJAYSON TATUM INSTAGRAM

In addition to Jayson, Justin has two more children: a son, Jaycob, and a daughter, Kayden. Jaycob went to high school at his father’s alma mater, Christian Brothers College, where he played football. During his time on the team, they won two state championships. He now plays football at Western Illinois University, according to his father’s website.

Jayson celebrated Brandy’s marriage in 2016

Parental Pioneers: How Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole-Barnes Raised an NBA StarJAYSON TATUM INSTAGRAM

In 2016, Brandy married her now-husband, Marcus “Jake” Barnes, who previously worked as a counselor at the Reebok All-American Camp, according to the Boston Herald. Jayson shared several photos from the Bahamas wedding on Instagram to celebrate the occasion. In one photo, he poses with the bride and groom as they match in all-white ensembles. “She’s married now! Happy for you Momma! Love ya both,” he wrote in the caption.

In another photo, he can be seen giving his mom a kiss on the cheek. He captioned the sweet shot: “Mommas boy till the end! I’m so happy for her️.”

Brandy ensured Jayson was a good student

Parental Pioneers: How Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole-Barnes Raised an NBA StarJAYSON TATUM INSTAGRAM

Brandy always instilled the importance of maintaining good grades and getting an education in her son. Speaking to Sentinel & Enterprise, Brandy reflected on how she handled the balance between her son’s commitment to basketball, and to the classroom.

“One time I had to call his bluff, because I would always tell him that we don’t do C’s,” she said of her son. “It was B’s and above because I knew what he was capable of. He would always do fine, but one time he tried me, and I kept him home from a tournament. It about killed him. It was fourth or fifth grade. He almost lost it, but ever since then, he knew I meant business.”

Though he only attended Duke University for one year before he was drafted to the NBA, Brandy’s one wish is for Jayson to finish his degree.

“That’s a big thing for me. A lot of Duke kids come back and get their degree. I told him, It doesn’t matter how long it takes. He’s seen how hard I’ve worked,” Brandy said in her interview with ESPN.

Brandy knew Jayson was talented since elementary school

Parental Pioneers: How Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole-Barnes Raised an NBA StarJAYSON TATUM INSTAGRAM

In an interview with Today, Brandy said she knew by the time Jayson was in fourth grade that he would make it to the NBA.

“I knew he was gifted — he would do things and make moves and that you just couldn’t teach,” she said. “It was like it was just innate in him.”

However, Brandy made sure to set boundaries with herself to ensure she was still pushing him to be his best while also allowing him to be a kid.

“We can’t want it more than they do. That’s the biggest thing,” she explained. “And I think sometimes we want to push them more. And so that was the line for me — I would tell him, ‘Listen, I will give you every opportunity, every resource, I’ll do whatever it takes, but you have to do your part.’ “

They are grandparents

Parental Pioneers: How Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole-Barnes Raised an NBA StarBRIAN BABINEAU/NBAE/GETTY

Jayson “Deuce” Christopher Tatum Jr. is the son of Jayson, and Jayson is a proud father. On December 6, 2017, the NBA player and his ex-girlfriend, Toriah Lachell, became parents to a son named Deuce. At the time, they were both 19 years old. It was just six months after he was chosen third overall in the NBA draft that he became a father to his first child.

During an interview with Today, Brandy referred to her grandson as a “blessing all the way around.” She continued by saying, “To get to see Jayson in a different light, you know, in a different capacity, and see that something that I never thought possible would bring him more joy than basketball — I think Deuce puts everything in perspective for him.”

The top player for the Boston Celtics has also said that his own childhood serves as influence for the way that he raises his son. While having a conversation with Bensinger in October 2022, he said the following: “When I was growing up, even when I was a kid, I always saw my friends with their dad and how their relationship was bigger than basketball and sports and how they were closer.”

He went on, “I’ve always said I wanted to have a kid,” which was the next thing he said. “And I was like if I ever have a son, I’m going to make sure that we are best friends because I wanted what I didn’t have, in a sense.”

Justin supported Jayson at the 2023 All-Stars Game

Parental Pioneers: How Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole-Barnes Raised an NBA StarJAYSON TATUM INSTAGRAM

Jayson was among the NBA stars selected for the 2023 All-Star Game, playing on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s winning team. He scored a record 55 points at the game and earned the Kobe Bryant Trophy when he was named MVP of the game, per the NBA.

Justin was present for the monumental moment, celebrating his son’s achievement on Instagram after the game. “Being able to see your kid live out their dream… Is priceless,” he wrote alongside a photo of him and Jayson holding the MVP award. “My boy @jaytatum0 is All-Star MVP.. 55 points most ever in a All-Star.. your a ️ kid. LOVE Chump aka Big Deuce ️.”

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