What would you do if your 9-year-old child was ranked number one in the country at something? Would you talk about their success, push them toward it, and jump at every opportunity? Or would you keep the accomplishment quiet in order to keep your child humble and try to give them a more normal childhood?
9-year-old Neiko Primus is destined to be a basketball superstar, and yet his mother, Michelle Mundey, just wants him to be a normal kid. Mundy has been contacted by middle schools, high schools, AAU programs, agents, and trainers for the past several years, but she is wondering if it is all too much.
According to the Washington Post, in basketball, there is “a perpetual search for the next big thing, and Neiko’s anointment as the latest young phenom has him somewhere between a normal childhood and a too-early promise of fame.”
Last year Coast 2 Coast Preps, who call themselves the “worldwide leader in prep basketball coverage”, put Neiko Primus at the top of their projected 2026 Top 25 Player Rankings. Since the announcement last June, Mundey has been overwhelmed by the interest in her son.
She wasn’t planning on telling Neiko about his accomplishment, but he ended up finding out shortly after the announcement. When he found out that his mother had kept the accomplishment from him, he responded with “You could have told me…it wouldn’t change me at all.”
In an interview with The Washington Post, Michelle Mundey said, “He needs to be a kid. He needs to just be Neiko. Who knows if he’s going to be good when he’s older? No one. But I do know he only has one chance to grow up. Youth basketball is crazy and puts so much pressure on these kids at such a young age. I am doing my best to protect him from all that.”
While Mundey wants to protect Neiko, she has propelled him in his dreams and even allowed him to create an Instagram account for people to follow his journey. She runs the account, and “sometimes posts videos of him missing a shot to remind his followers that he is 9.”
Tell us your thoughts. Does Neiko have too much pressure on him? It would be hard as a parent to balance notoriety with a normal childhood. What would you do in this position? Let us know on Facebook!