Continuing the family legacy: Anakin Brown following father Dee’s footsteps from Bolles to JU

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Anakin Brown does not shy away from his name.

Either one.

His father, Dee Brown’s name carries plenty of weight as a former Bolles star, Jacksonville University Hall of Famer, and NBA Slam Dunk Contest winner.

Anakin even wears the same number 4 that his dad wore at JU, where Anakin has committed to play college basketball.

“I always thought of it as a blessing that he was able to be my dad,” Anakin Brown said. “And I have him as a big role model. So I always want to follow in his footsteps. And I want to be not only like him, but I want to be aspiring to be better than him.”

And then there is the other name.

Anakin, the birth name of Darth Vader (Dee is a big Star Wars fan), is not a name you run across every day.

“We had three girls first, and they’re all A’s, Alexis, Alyssa, and Alanni,” Dee Brown said. “I say, okay, the deal is, if we have a boy, I can name the boy. I wanted the whole name. And she put it like this, and I’ll let you get Anakin. We can’t do Skywalker, so I got part of it in there. So it’s Anakin Walker Brown.”

Anakin says as a Star Wars fan he’s a 7 out of 10, not nearly as big a fan as his father. But he admits that opponents are sometimes taken aback when they learn his name.

“It’s like a mixed reaction,” Anakin Brown said. “It’s like, ‘No way your name is actually Anakin,’ or ‘Wow, your name is actually Anakin.’ I kind of like having an original name like that because it brings more attention to my name, and no one else has the name Anakin. That’s me. You know that there’s only one and you know that’s me.”

Brown led the Bulldogs in scoring during the 2022-23 season, averaging nearly 20 points per game. He also led the team in steals and remarkably, he was also third in rebounding.

And his dunks?

He said in a contest with Dad, it’s not close. Not at this point in the elder Brown’s life.

“The problem is the landing,” Dee Brown said.

As for Anakin’s immediate future, he has one more season to lead the Bulldogs before beginning his college career.