Jayson Tatum was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to two young parents. His mother Brandy Cole-Barnes and his father Justin Tatum were 19 years old when he was born and he was raised mostly by his mother. Tatum has a half-brother and half-sister on his father’s side. Tatum has frequently spoken about his close bond with his family, especially his mother and son Deuce who are often courtside at Boston Celtics games cheering him on.
Here’s what you need to know about Jayson Tatum’s parents and family:
1. Jayson Tatum’s Mother Is Brandy Cole-Barnes & She Obtained a Law Degree in St. Louis, Missouri Despite Being a Single Mother
Tatum’s mother is Brandy Cole-Barnes and the two have been very close his whole life, prompting the NBA star to describe his mom to ESPN as his “best friend.” Cole-Barnes was just a few weeks past her high school graduation when she learned that she was pregnant with Tatum.
From the onset, Cole-Barnes said she was determined not to become a statistic about teenage parents and decided she was still going to go to college, and she also wanted to live in her own home with her son. “I always was so proud that we had our own home, and he loved it here,” she told Bleacher Report. “When you’re a kid, you shouldn’t be worried about packing up the stuff in your room and going to live with your grandma. It was a pride thing: ‘I’m going to do this. I’m not going to become a statistic.'”
Cole-Barnes began working several jobs to pay for school and their bills as she was also studying at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She gave birth to Tatum on March 3, 1998, during spring break of freshman year but still returned to class the following week to take her midterms, she told Sentinel & Enterprise.
Cole-Barnes got political science and communications degrees and then returned to get her law degree. Throughout her schooling, she’d often have to bring Tatum to classes and he’d keep busy in the back of the class with a book or a video game.
“I kept quiet, listening in here and there — to me, most of her professors seemed boring and talked a lot,” he wrote in an essay for The Players’ Tribune. “But I had my things to focus on, she had hers. It felt normal. So that’s what we did. When my mom couldn’t afford a babysitter and Grandma was working, we’d go to class together.”
When Tatum was growing up, his mother placed a big emphasis on his education, even more so when it became clear that he was a very talented basketball player. He wrote that his mother didn’t want him to be “only an athlete” and wanted him to be well-spoken and thoughtful. Tatum recalled having to keep his grade above a B in order to compete in basketball tournaments. He said he only slipped up with his grades once and learned that his mother was serious about the rules.
Although Tatum left Duke after just one year of college, Cole-Barnes hopes he will eventually get his degree, she told Today. “He also likes to point out that I have four degrees and he makes significantly more money than I ever had,” Cole-Barnes laughed. “I was like, ‘That’s logical. You have a point.’”
2. Jayson Tatum’s Father Is Justin Tatum, a Former Basketball Player Who Now Coaches a High School Team in St. Louis
Tatum’s father is Justin Tatum, who was also a basketball star in his youth and now works as a high school coach in St. Louis, Missouri. Justin Tatum played high school basketball at Christian Brothers College High School and his bio on his website indicates that he won a state title in 1997.
Justin Tatum met his son’s mother when they were teenagers and they became parents when they were both freshmen in college. Tatum Sr. attended Saint Louis University (SLU) and studied criminal justice while playing on the basketball team.
His bio states, “He helped lead the SLU Billikens to a Conference Championship in 2000 and made an NCAA appearance under Coach Lorenzo Romar. During Justin’s time at SLU he was named the Conference USA First Team All Defense player and was ranked 6th in blocked shots at SLU.”
Tatum was exposed to basketball early as he often attended his father’s college games and played with the ball, even as a toddler, the Boston Globe wrote. After college, Justin Tatum pursued a career in the Netherlands, meaning that Tatum didn’t see his father very often when he was younger.
Cole-Barnes told ESPN that her son always knew his dad and Justin Tatum was in his son’s life but the two never lived together and Tatum was around 8 years old when his dad returned from overseas.
Justin Tatum began coaching varsity basketball at Soldan High and the Globe reported that the future NBA star joined their practices at the age of nine onward. “By the time he was 12, he was giving my players problems,” Justin Tatum shared. In fact, he became his son’s coach and Tatum revealed that he was very hard on him.
During a candid interview on “In Depth With Graham Bensinger,” Tatum shared that having his father as a coach put a “strain” on their father-son relationship and their entire connection was based on basketball. He recalled his father yelling and swearing at him during matches and he’d push him up against the lockers as the young boy bawled. “I felt like he didn’t like me as a kid because he was so mean to me,” Tatum said. “Of course he did, but as a kid, I couldn’t separate coach and dad.”
Tatum and his father have a great relationship now and the NBA star has credited his father for pushing him to become the player he is now. In one Instagram post, he wrote, “Happy birthday to my pops @j_tat thanks for everything. Especially for showing me how to be a man. Couldn’t ask for a better relationship with my father. Love you OG!!”
In addition to coaching at his alma mater Christian Brothers College High School, Justin Tatum also runs summer basketball camps for kids in St. Louis, his website shows.
3. Jayson Tatum Grew Up With His Mother in a Small Home in St. Louis & She Worked Hard to Pay Their Bills
Although his father was involved in his life, Tatum lived with his mother and was mostly raised by her in a small two-bedroom house. Cole-Barnes shared that she didn’t want to live with family members and wanted to have a home of their own, but it wasn’t always easy to pay the bills.
The Boston Globe reported that there would often be utility cuts when they didn’t pay their bills on time. Sometimes it was the heat, other times it was the water or the electricity. Cole-Barnes often worked a couple of jobs at a time in addition to her classes and schoolwork to make ends meet. “We had a lot of tough times,” Tatum told ESPN’s Sage Steele in an interview at his old home.
“I remember the nights we didn’t have anything to eat,” he said, and a neighbor two doors down would help them out with a chicken pot pie. “I remember coming home and there being a pink eviction notice on the house and my mom cried the whole night,” he said. A blue tarp covered half of the roof because they couldn’t afford to fix it.
“I remember coming home from school before I go back to practice and going to use the bathroom and trying to turn the water on,” he continued, only to find out there was no water. He said he’d call his mother to tell her and hear her sigh on the phone before telling him, “I’ll figure it out.”
His mother always made it work though, he wrote. “My mom found a way to keep our house after we got that eviction notice,” he wrote in The Players’ Tribune. “Just like her college degrees, just like her late nights working multiple jobs, she found a way.”
4. Jayson Tatum Has 2 Younger Siblings From Another Relationship of His Father’s
Tatum has two younger half-siblings from another relationship of his father’s. He has a brother named Jaycob Tatum who was born on January 27, 2004, and is currently attending Western Illinois University. His college athletics profile states that he attended Christian Brothers College High School and is a football player. The 6’3″ linebacker graduated high school in 2022 and is now a freshman in college.
Tatum also has a younger sister named Kayden Tatum who was born on April 30, 2014. The NBA star has often posted photos with his siblings wishing them a happy birthday and showing that he spends time with his father and siblings. In January 2019, Tatum wrote, “Happy birthday to my lil brother @jaycobtatum2 love you lil dude Super proud of you! Continue to be special and create your own path! Enjoy your day kid!”
He posted several photos and videos with his sister, including one on April 30, 2018, that said, “Happy 4th birthday to my Baby Sis Kay-Kay! Enjoy your day!! bruh bruh loves you ❤️❤️❤️.” Tatum also shared an adorable video showing himself going to the zoo with his sister back in 2016.
5. Jayson Tatum Has a Son Named Deuce Tatum & He Said Being a Father Has Motivated Him to Be Better
Tatum’s son is Jayson Christopher Tatum Jr., better known by his nickname Deuce. He was born to Tatum and his high school girlfriend Toriah Mimms on December 6, 2017. At the time, Tatum was in his rookie season with the Celtics and Deuce’s mother moved to Boston from St. Louis so their son could be raised close to both parents, who were 19 years old. Mimms now works as a hairstylist and has a good co-parenting relationship with Tatum.
Tatum said having his son at such a young age made him mature really quickly and that the two are “growing up together,” he shared in a press conference. His son has become a celebrity at TD Garden and he’s often featured in Celtics videos either high-fiving Tatum’s teammates or helping them out in the warm-ups.
“It motivates me, because I understand that 24 hours of the day I’ve got somebody watching everything that I do,” Tatum shared with Heavy Sports. “So it motivates me to make the right decisions to be the best role model essentially on and off the court.”
Tatum’s mother shared on “In Depth With Graham Bensinger” that her son and grandson are so similar and very close. “They’re a lot alike,” she said. “And neither one of them show me any attention when the other one’s around,” she smiled. “I mean, Deuce will wait up until two in the morning if he can and he will sit and look out the door waiting on Jayson to pull up home after a game. I’m just blessed to be able to watch it.”