In 2022, high school basketball player Bronny James signed an NIL deal with Beats by Dre, following the footsteps of his dad, LeBron James, who was the first athlete to sign with the brand back in 2008. For the holiday season, Beats wanted to capture the spirit of family with the father-son duo of LeBron and Bronny James. And show them in a more personal, never-before-seen light.
After launching a fun, lighthearted film that showed LeBron James and his son Bronny in a competitive setting, we wanted to explore their relationship as father and son, while also seeing them beyond the basketball superstars that they've always been depicted as.
With our film "Fatherhood", we wanted to see a more emotional side of their relationship, seen through the lens of LeBron, as he reminisces on his journey as a dad, as Bronny turns 18.
As we explored the story, we were mindful of the fact that Black fatherhood has seldom been celebrated in society at large. And when we do talk about Black fatherhood, the tired myth of the absentee father is what often surfaces. With respect to father-son duos in sport as well, they've been around their children for their careers, but continue to be demonized by the press.
So when we decided to tell the story of LeBron and Bronny, we needed our film to not only tell LeBron's story and how he lived his truth as a father, but also serve as an ode to Black fatherhood.
As far as our story went, we needed to capture the sheer uncertainty that lingered within LeBron – a man who is often regarded as superhuman. LeBron didn't grow up with a father, and therefore, his insecurities around being a father stemmed from the fact that he didn't grow up with his own.
During the development of the film, we received a treasure trove of footage and photographs of LeBron and Bronny over the years, from LeBron's wife Savannah James. This was footage that the world had never seen before, and as LeBron gave us his unfiltered narration, it was the perfect vehicle to create something that felt raw, imperfect and human.
Along with the footage from the archives, we also wanted to highlight LeBron and Bronny's personal handshake that they share, giving us an inside peek at basketball's most high profile father-son duo.
A new track from Grammy-nominated artist Leon Thomas brought a soulful depth to the film, with the artist penning bespoke lyrics for us. We also tapped into the James family's heritage with Beats, so amongst our footage we included an iconic image of young Bronny in old-school Beats headphones, a nod to LeBron's legacy with the brand.
The launch of the film was centered around one of Bronny's high school games, which saw Sierra Canyon vs Christ the King. In the game, we witnessed the sons of two historic NBA players LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, face off against each other. The moment marked the next generation of basketball talent stepping into the next level, but more importantly, was a testament to their success as fathers, and served as the perfect backdrop to launch "Fatherhood".
The film sparked incredible reactions from our audience, and touched the hearts of countless fathers who've experienced the same journey with their own children. “Fatherhood” received nearly 10 million views and over 200 million impressions, with writeups in publications like Complex, and generated waves of chatter from parents and children alike.