Who Is Amari Bailey's Mom? All About Johanna Leia (2024)

Basketball star Amari Bailey was destined for sports success, and his mother, Johanna Leia, has been by his side every step of the way, watching from the sidelines while also working as his manager.

The mother-son pair have an extremely close relationship, as Amari himself has shared. “Thank you for having those conversations that I didn’t always wanna hear or have and thank you for keeping our beautiful family as one unit,” he wrote next to a handful of throwback photos of himself and Leia on Mother’s Day 2020.

“Not a lot of people know about our roller coast [sic] journey... Your resiliency is more admirable in my life and day to day than you may know. Thank you for always being a shoulder I can cry. Our best friend relationship throws many off but I wouldn’t want it any other way tbh.” (Amari's father is Leia’s ex, former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Aaron Bailey.)

Amari’s success was written in the stars. His love of basketball began when he was just a baby, and he actually committed to UCLA when he was still in high school. He signed with the Charlotte Hornets in July 2023. No matter where his career takes him, his mom and little sister Savanna will be there cheering him on.

Here’s everything to know about Amari Bailey’s mom, Johanna Leia.

Leia is a model and influencer

Leia is a model and influencer with more than 300,000 followers on Instagram. She’s worked with brands like Fashion Nova.

She raised Amari in Chicago

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Amari was born in New Orleans, but Leia raised her son in Chicago, where his love of basketball began. The family then moved to Los Angeles, where Amari attended Sierra Canyon School and played basketball with LeBron James’s son Bronny.

She nurtured Amari’s talents from an early age

Amari’s talents were present from an early age, and Leia stopped at nothing to ensure her son could live out his dreams. “I just so happened to have a baby boy who wanted to wake me up at 3 a.m. wanting to eat and ride around in his car seat with a ball,” Leia reminisced on Instagram. “What I realized was the comfort he found with that ball.”

According to Leia, she put aside her own dreams to help Amari thrive. “I chose my child over a good time, I chose my children over my dreams, I chose my children over the barricades placed in front of me. I chose doing what’s right over doing what was easy.”

Leia and Amari were on a reality show

The duo were featured on Lifetime’s series Bringing Up Ballers, a reality show about aspiring Chicago-based basketball players and their mothers that aired in 2017. "The six-episode series follows these feisty moms who will stop at nothing to ensure that their businesses are successful and their boys are on track to make it to the NBA," Lifetime said in a press release about the show at the time.

However, neither Leia nor Amari ended up feeling thrilled about the show. “I thought it was magical in this sense that it’s shining light on women who are juggling busy schedules and kids in sports and there’s a lot of time and dedication involved — and then it just turned into this catty space,” Leia later explained. “And I’m like, all right, if this is going to turn catty, it’s going to turn catty. And, to be quite honest, Amari hated it.”

She founded a sports management company

Who Is Amari Bailey's Mom? All About Johanna Leia (4)

Leia turned what she had learned while shepherding her son through every stage of his career into her sports marketing and management company Just Living.

“I tell people I stepped into the men’s club. As much as men have gotten their kudos in the sports industry, I have single-handedly walked into the lion’s den,” she explained. “I’m up for the challenge!” Given that Leia has helped shape her son’s career from his early days in Chicago to his time at the esteemed Sierra Canyon School in Los Angeles, she’s more than ready to share her knowledge.

She briefly dated Drake

Who Is Amari Bailey's Mom? All About Johanna Leia (5)

Leia and Drake were spotted on several dinner dates in 2021, including one where Drake rented out Dodgers Stadium just to have dinner with Leia. It was reported that the rapper had taken an interest in Amari, who was gearing up to attend UCLA. At the time, TMZ shared that Drake had offered advice on dealing with life in the public eye. The two reportedly dated for a few months, but the relationship didn’t last.

The headlines did, however, shine a light on both Leia and her son. “The media’s going to be the media ... there’s always trolls that have something to say. If anything, it’s getting him ready for the next level,” Leia previously shared, alluding to the dinner date with the rapper and its impact on her son. However, Leia is very private when it comes to her personal life.

She also has a daughter, Savanna

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Leia welcomed her second child, daughter Savanna, in 2015. Despite their age difference, Amari and Savanna appear to be very close and often appear in Amari’s Instagram posts together. He even called his mom and sister “my why” in an adorable post from 2022, and he has referred to Savanna as his “mini me.”

Who Is Amari Bailey's Mom? All About Johanna Leia (2024)


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