17-year-old Bryson Warren is getting paid at least $100,000 to play high school basketball, CNBC reports.
Warren grew up close to Little Rock, Arkansas, finding his passion in sports like most young boys. As he got older, he continued to make a name for himself in basketball and was just ranked by ESPN as the 14th-best U.S. high school basketball player in his age group. Although many student-athletes his age would be preparing for their senior year of high school, spending most of their time fielding offers from colleges, Bryson chose to take a more clever route, joining the first round of student-athletes signing to Overtime Elite, an Atlanta-based accelerator program for elite high school and international prospects.
The league was founded in 2016 by Dan Porter and Zack Weiner, kicking off its first competitive season just last year. The company offers year-round player development, specialized coaching, and a rigorous academic program that includes the financial literacy players need to navigate the business. Investors include Jeff Bezos, Drake, and NBA stars Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony.
The league utilizes social media to create content and highlights for these star teens that get billions of views a year, building the players into their brands. But, more importantly, they pay them an annual base salary of at least $100,000. The only catch is that players must forfeit their right to play college basketball, playing only for OTE.
“We cover the cost of food, lodging, transportation, and every cost associated with being in the program, first and foremost. But, our company’s performance bonus and equity are commensurate with what every other employee at Overtime receives,” said Aaron Ryan, Overtime elite president, and commissioner.
The salaries the players receive technically make them professional athletes, which is why they are not eligible for college basketball. However, if players decide not to pursue sports professionally, the league also gives them $100,000 toward college tuition.
“Not too many 17-,18-,19-year olds can say they made at least $100K. We’re just really getting a head start on life, playing the game we love. You could see Overtime as a risk, or you can see it as an opportunity. This is the opportunity I chose, and it’s the one I’m going to live with, and I’m at peace now,” said Bryson.
The teen currently has a full schedule, starting his day at 6:15 a.m. when an Overtime trainer picks him up to begin his 90-minute workout in the gym. After that, it’s off to three-hour basketball practice with teammates and then lunch. After eating, they head to academic classes until about 4 p.m., Warren’s personal favorite being his financial literacy class.
“They’re teaching us who to have in your circle [of friends and family] and stuff, just keeping your circle small. [Six-time NBA All-Star] Tony Parker came in and talked to us [and] he told us it’s not about who you say ‘Yes’ to, it’s who you say ‘No,’ to,” Bryson explained.
While Bryson’s exact salary isn’t in the public since Overtime has declined to share financials with reporters, it’s clear that it is at least $100k. Whatever the amount, it was more than enough for Bryson to have invested in a co-educational AAU basketball team back home in Arkansas for 2nd-6th graders and purchase his dream car, a Dodge Charger.
Bryson joins a host of other young athletes taking alternative routes to the league, including fellow Overtime peer Jalen Lewis. Jalen made history last year when he became the youngest professional basketball player to sign a million-dollar contract. The top California basketball recruit signed a $1 million multi-year deal with Overtime Elite at just 16-years-old.
Check out Bryson’s story below! Congratulations, young man!