Updated: Jun 11, 2022
In March 2021, Overtime, a cutting edge sports media company, announced the creation of Overtime Elite (OTE), “a transformative new sports league,” providing an alternative pathway for high school athletes to become professional players. Backed by Overtime’s investors that include Andreessen Horowitz, Sapphire Sport, Spark Capital, Greycroft Ventures, Jeff Bezos, Drake, NBA stars such as Trae Young, Devin Booker, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Durant, and several others, OTE launched a league that features 27 members who play internal and external competition as well as receive a guaranteed minimum salary of at least six figures annually. Besides basketball development, the inaugural league has distinguished itself by developing a platform for its athletes to receive training in education, economic empowerment, life skills instruction, and personal branding. Based in Atlanta, OTE houses a state-of-the-art facility and boosts an experienced front office and coaching staff to help some of the world’s top prospects build successful careers on-and-off the court.
The 14th ranked prospect in ESPN’s 2023 high school class before turning pro last September, Bryson Warren signed with Overtime Elite over high major offers from Arkansas, Tennessee, Kansas, Memphis, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Auburn, and many others. At 14 years-old, he received his first scholarship from Oral Roberts. Among the many accolades Warren has earned in his early career, he was the first sophomore to win Arkansas High School Player of the Year after leading Little Rock Central (AR) to a 23-5 record and the Class 6A state title game. In his last high school season prior to OTE, he averaged 24.1 points, 3.7 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game and shot 44% from 3. Playing on Team Elite for Dave Leitao, the 6’2” guard showcased his upside as a strong jump shooter with fluid footwork, a quick release, and mature shot-making instincts. After winning the first Overtime Elite Championship, Warren will vie for a spot on the USA Basketball U18 National Team this summer.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Warren highlighted his childhood vision to have his own AAU program, his experience with USA Basketball, his relationship with Arkansas native Joe Johnson and a personal invite to hot yoga class, some notable influencers, artists, and basketball executives who have graced the doors of OTE, and much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present Overtime Elite’s Bryson Warren, from Little Rock, Arkansas:
Pro Insight: How did you get to where you are today? Talk a bit about your background and family.
Bryson Warren: Yeah, I’m blessed enough just to have both my mom and dad in my household. I got a little brother, a little sister, and an older brother. And really I've just always been a hard worker my whole life. Started taking the game of basketball seriously about 6th grade when I started going early morning 6 AM three days a week and getting it in at night, we were just working hard. That's really when I knew I wanted to take it to another level, so…just growing up, I played baseball, soccer, and basketball. I was better at soccer than I was at basketball, but I just wanted to play basketball more. Growing up, I just feel blessed by all the opportunities I’ve been given.
PI: How did you develop the discipline to workout early in the morning?
BW: Yeah, I mean I'd give a lot of that to my dad. He was the one taking me. He was getting me up, really just [attribute] a lot to him. He wanted it. I wanted it. Just thankful for him being in my corner because he had to get up and take me, but he did. Him just instilling that in me early just really shaped the way I am now.
PI: Any other athletes in the family?
BW: Nah, not really. My mom did a little track in high school and then my dad, he stopped playing basketball in 9th grade. So really just me.
PI: Was there a specific moment that prompted you to focus on basketball?
BW: Definitely like I said, 6th grade when I started getting up early mornings. I think I had pulled my hamstring from playing soccer so I was out. I was playing both sports anyway, but I liked basketball more so I was like, “well, I'm just gonna stop playing soccer 'cause basketball goes year round” so I can get a little bit more serious. That's when my mom’s like, “yeah, basketball is gonna be the way to go.”
PI: For those who aren’t familiar with your game, what are your greatest strengths?
BW: Yeah, I’m a three-level scorer. My mid-range is probably my bread and butter. I like to make people around me better. I like to see myself being a floor general point guard that can score really well [and] defend. I’m just really just working on getting bigger in the weight room. That's what I've been doing every day, so that's pretty much it.
PI: Who do you model your game after or study on film?
BW: I think I play like Anfernee Simons. We both got like a little quick twitch explosive jumper. I don’t got as much athleticism as him right now, but it's definitely coming. But I like to model my game after him. I think we have similar games.
PI: Congrats on starting your own AAU program Bryson Warren United. You have the opportunity to coach some of these young kids — how would you describe yourself as a leader?
BW: Yeah, I feel I'm a great leader and I like to lead by example. I'll talk when I need to, but I like to really lead by example. With the AAU team, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Since I was a little kid, I just wanted to have my own AAU team and through Overtime [and] coming here, I was able to make that happen.
PI: What’s your vision for Bryson Warren United moving forward?
BW: Yeah, I mean honestly, I just see them getting better and better. We’re really focusing on development. We want everybody to be good going into high school or whatever the next grade is or the next day. I let them work out with my trainers for free, so not only they gettin’ maximum work, but also have them go to tournaments and stuff so they get maximum exposure. So I just want them to just keep getting maximum exposure [and] just keep getting better.
PI: in your own development, what do you feel you still need to improve on the most? What have you been working on?
BW: I mean really just gaining weight, getting in the weight room and really just working on my overall game. I feel like I just get better in multiple ways. Lately, jumping I guess, playing above the rim. I feel like I do that, I just gotta show more people, but besides that, I'm just working on ball screen reads. It's pretty much the main part — ball screen reads.
PI: Do you have a training regimen?
BW: Yeah, I mean it's pretty much different. Here [at OTE], it would be like just different types of workouts, but mostly the same thing. Everybody works on what they need to work on so it would be a whole bunch of shots getting put up, a whole bunch of photos being taken, just stuff like that. And then when I work out with my dad, I'm just pretty much just shooting the whole time. We just work on getting shots up.
PI: What are your short term goals you have for yourself as a player?
BW: As a player, I mean definitely get to the NBA. I feel like it’s everybody’s dream, but definitely my dream and really just be the best player I could be. Just put on for the state of Arkansas. I feel like a lot of them are rooting for me. I got to represent the state well and just go to the league [and] get a max contract.
PI: Congrats on winning the Overtime Elite Championship in the inaugural season. Besides that, what was the highlight of the year for you?
BW: I mean, I'll probably say practice because practice we battlin’ every day like I'm playing against the best of the best like the Thompson Twins. Ausar, he was on my team, so we're doing that every day. And just like everyone here like Jean Montero, he’ll get drafted, probably in the lottery, so just going against them every day was probably the best part ‘cause I'm just getting better and better, but every day I'm learning. It’s just a fun experience.
PI: Who has been the toughest individual matchup you’ve ever faced?
BW: Nah, ain't nobody guard me really so nah, I ain't really had no problems.
PI: Congrats on your selection to the USA Basketball Junior National Team April Minicamp. Describe your experience with USAB.
BW: Yeah, I mean just really blessed to be able to be selected for that minicamp and the next camp coming up here on the 26th [of May]. I mean, really just like I said it’s the elite of the elite out there. I feel like there were some of the top players in 2023, but I'm just learning a lot, just learning how USA Basketball likes to play. They just like great players, great winning players. I feel like that's what I am — a winner, so they just get whatever the team they feel like can win so they really just look for straight-up winners — people who play the game the right way, which fits me perfectly, but really just blessed with an opportunity to be able to try to make a team like that.
PI: Was there anyone in particular you enjoyed playing with at the April Minicamp?
BW: I knew a few of them already, quite a lot of them. I know it was cool playing with DJ Wagner. We were on the same team one game. We were both killin’ so that was fun to do and it was just really just exciting seeing some of the players I've never played against, but like I know who they are. We got cool there like Jared McCain and just some other people like that. So really just a fun experience.
PI: You went to the same high school as Joe Johnson?
BW: Yeah, we both went to Little Rock Central [in] Arkansas. Yeah that’s pretty cool.
PI: How would you describe your connection with him? Has he shared words of encouragement in your journey?
BW: Yeah, Joe Johnson, that's my guy like a big bro. I can call him any time. I mean, he just really just be telling me to just keep my body right like he keeps inviting me to his yoga classes all the time (laughs). Hot yoga, but I'm not trying to lose no weight right now. Went in the past, but he's just telling me to just stay in the weight room, eat the right foods. I mean that’s just all he tells me, just keep his body right ’cause he is like 40 [years old]. I don't know if he is 40 but he is in his late 30s and he still looks like he is 29 so he keeps his body right. That's all he just tells me. Just eat the right foods and just stay in the weight room.
PI: How would you say OTE has helped you grow off the court?
BW: Yeah, Overtime — the next generation of basketball. I mean, off the court, they’re just teaching you how to be a good young man. You gotta make decisions on your own now 'cause your family—some people’s family with them, some people’s not. My family is back in Arkansas, but we got life skills. We learn about money. We learn about credit score, stocks, taxes, all that important stuff that guys deal with going through life. I mean really, even all the classes like math, chemistry, all that are geared towards life. You learn [things] like what foods you might need or something to survive and what foods you need to put in your body just to keep a good weight and stuff like that so it's like not just learning the basics, but we are learning stuff that we put towards life. So I mean on and off the court, you're becoming a better person, a better man.
PI: In your opinion, who has been the coolest person to walk through the doors of OTE so far?
BW: The coolest person…oh I mean, there’s been a whole bunch. I mean you got 2 Chainz come in. Carmelo [Anthony], he's partnering with us. Got a whole bunch of GMs that have walked in. Brad Stevens, he came in here a few times. I don't even know, I know Lil Durk the rapper, he was in here. K Camp came. I’m cool with him now. There's been a whole bunch really. I really just can't say one, but I mean, I think we got a Takeover event coming this Friday so we'll be interested to see who we got coming Friday. I think that might be the best one. I don't know yet.
PI: Walk us through a day-in-the-life of Bryson Warren.
BW: A day-in-the-life of me…so I'll wake up at like 7 [AM], boil some eggs, call my dad, talk with him and then I either have school or workout. So if we got workouts, it’ll be here at 8:15. We liftin’. We got lift for 45 minutes, then you’re on the court working out for 45 minutes and then for me personally, I'll get some treatment and then I'll go workout at another place. Then I'll come back to school. The rest of the day you can come get some more shots up, but we'll have pickup on Tuesday or Thursday. Then the rest of the day is yours. Just get in the grind, get better or relax, do whatever you gotta do. So I mean really like a pro schedule, really.
PI: What are your biggest interests outside of basketball?
BW: Yeah, I mean hang out. Really, I just like to be around my family. Good people, just people that are gonna make me laugh. I like to have fun so I like to joke around a lot.
PI: Who are your favorite music artists?
BW: Lil Baby (laughs).
PI: If you were stuck forever on a deserted island and had all the food, water, and shelter you needed — what three personal items would you bring?
BW: Alright, I'm gonna bring my dad for sure. He's real smart. Elon Musk. He'll find a way. And then rest in peace, but I’d bring Kobe because he just gets everything done, you know what I’m saying (laughs).
PI: You have one hashtag to describe yourself. What is it?
BW: #theworkisalwaysgonnashow. Yeah 'cause I feel like that's what I see a lot. I feel like when you put the work in, no matter what, it's always gonna show. So whatever you do, you could be singing, you could be rapping, you could be playing basketball, you could be doing homework, but you put the work in, it's gonna show.
PI: What was your first purchase when you received your first professional paycheck?
BW: I got a car. I got a Charger.
PI: If you weren’t pursuing a career as a professional hooper, what do you think you would choose to do?
BW: Playing soccer. MLS maybe. What’s the one overseas with Barcelona 'cause they be getting the big contracts?
BW: Yeah, I'll be trying to be over there playing (laughs).
PI: Who was your favorite soccer player growing up?
BW: My favorite soccer player is definitely Messi even though I got a Ronaldo jersey. Between both of them, those are probably my favorite players. Outside of that, I'll probably be a broadcaster or something 'cause I can speak very well in front of cameras and stuff, so I feel like I'll be doing well at that.
PI: Who’s someone you really look up to?
BW: Probably my dad, a cool guy and my best friend. He takes care of his family, got a clean sheet, and he just looks out for his kids first, his wife. Looks out for them first then himself, but he always keeps it real.
PI: What’s your biggest pet peeve?
BW: (Laughs) I guess I don't like people that got dirty cars like “clean your car bro” (laughs). Yeah, I mean really the outside, it just doesn’t gotta be like that, but like inside, I don't wanna sit down and like I gotta move everything out the way and you got crumbs and stuff.
PI: Are you an introvert or extrovert?
BW: I'm definitely an extrovert. I'm really outgoing.
PI: Talk about a time or story in your life that you feel has really shaped who you are today.
BW: I think it was like last year maybe ‘cause everytime I think about when I was young I feel like life has been good, but probably just long conversations with my dad about just basketball. Some of the nights where I might want to quit or something. “Was basketball for me?” I feel like just having those talks, letting everything out really like letting the emotions out a little bit and decide it was something I really wanted to do.
PI: How have you handled and responded to adversity in your life?
BW: Yeah, I mean just talking with the right people and just knowing that there’s always gonna be a tomorrow. Sometimes you feel like you're at the bottom or something and you feel like things aren't going your way, but when you feel like that, the only way you can go is up. You can only excel and just get better and better and better every day. So that's always how I feel like I can always get better. I know if I'm down. It’s okay to keep falling ‘cause the only way is up.
PI: How would you define the word ‘success?’
BW: For me, success would be getting drafted, making a whole bunch of money, making sure my family don't gotta work any more, and really just giving back to the state of Arkansas, and I feel like I want to do all that and I gotta give back.
PI: Talk a bit more about giving back and your community in Arkansas.
BW: Yeah, I feel like everybody in Arkansas doesn't get as much exposure I should say so I feel like sometimes it might be a little harder for us like people don't give us as much credit as we should get just because we're from Arkansas. But just giving back would be something big for me. I feel like everybody in Arkansas, they’re kind of coming together. It used to be a “hate on each other state,” but I feel like we're all just happy to see each other grow so just giving back, giving and helping out the state, Arkansas, everybody down there. It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do and I feel like that would be like a good thing to do.
PI: Besides the NBA, where do you see yourself in five years?
BW: Besides the NBA…let me see (counting the five years with his fingers). That's a good question. I see myself in a nice house. Let's see. I got a dog or two. I think I just see myself having a good time. I feel like that would be some great years of my life. Hopefully, I might have a family, but maybe not. I think that’s it.
PI: Name four words that best describe you.
BW: Outgoing. Smart. Loyal. Caring.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
BW: As a player, definitely one of the best shooters, scorers in the game. One of the best playmakers as a point guard in the game. As a person, I just want to be remembered as someone who cared for others, who loved to give back, he always put whoever needed to be first, first, and he was just somebody who you can look up to as a role model.