TJ Leaf Bio: Basketball Career, NBA, Family & Net Worth

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The 6 feet 10 inches man, TJ Leaf, was raised to be a basketball player. His father, also a basketball player, says that T.J. was brainwashed so that he had to end up on a basketball court.

TJ Leaf is an American-Israeli basketball player associated with the  Guangzhou Loong Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).

 The Indiana Pacers selected him in the first round of the 2017 NBA draft with the 18th overall pick. He also played for the University of California, Los Angeles’ (UCLA) Bruins Men’s Basketball team.

Likewise, TJ represented Israel’s Under-18 junior national team at the 2015 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship B Division.

TJ Leaf

TJ is the second Israeli player in NBA history, following Omri Casspi, who was chosen by Sacramento as the 23rd pick in the 2009 NBA draft.

Today, we will be talking about TJ Leaf’s personal and professional life, including everything from his early life and family to his basketball career and net worth.

Quick Facts About TJ Leaf

Full name Ty Jacob Leaf
Popular name T.J. Leaf
Birthdate April 30, 1997
Birthplace Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv District, Israel
Nationality Israeli


Horoscope Taurus
Age 27 Years Old
Father’s name Brad Leaf
Mother’s name Karen Leaf
Sibling 3 (a sister and two brothers)
Sibli ng’s name Talia Leaf Fitzgerald, Troy Leaf, and Trent Leaf
Education University of California, Los Angeles
Marital status Unmarried
Relationship status Committed
Girlfriend’s name Julia Reynolds Mills
Children None
Height 6 feet 10 inches (208.28 cm)
Weight 102 kgs (225 lbs.)
Body type Athletic
Eye Color Light Brown
Hair Color Brown
Profession Basketball player
Position Small forward/Power forward
Current Affiliation National Basketball Association (NBA)
NBA Debut 2017
Plays for Guangzhou Loong Lions 
Contract $7,249,200 with the Indiana Pacers
Net worth $5 million
Social media Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Indiana Pacers’ Merch Books, Jersey
Last Update May, 2024

T.J. Leaf – Early Life and Family

Ty Jacob Leaf was born on April 30, 1997, in Tel Aviv, Israel. He was born to his parents Brad Leaf and Karen Leaf.

He has a sister, Talia Leaf Fitzgerald, and two brothers, Troy Leaf and Trent Leaf.

Brad Leaf is also a basketball player. In fact, he was indulged in professional basketball in Israel when T.J. was born.

He met his wife, Karen, in a tennis class at the University of Evansville.

T.J. spent the first two years of his life in Israel before moving to the United States.

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Basketball: TJ had it in his blood.

Brad Leaf was also an Indiana Pacers’ draft pick like T.J. He was selected in the 7th round in 1982. He also played for the La Crosse Catbirds of the Continental Basketball Association (CBA).

Brad Leaf played for 17 years in Israel. The family shifted to San Diego, United States, in 1999.

Brad Leaf coached T.J. and Troy, his eldest, when they were kids. He also coached T.J. in summer leagues prior to high school. He wanted T.J. to be versatile like those big men against whom he had competed as a pro in Europe.

Education and High School Basketball Career

T.J. Leaf went to Foothills Christian High School in El Cajon, California. He was indulged in basketball since school and played under his father’s mentorship.

He averaged 27.4 points, 14.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.8 steals, and 2.7 blocks per game in junior year. He contributed to making Foothills Christian High School’s presence at the San Diego Section Division II championship.

Also, Cal-Hi Sports named T.J. their Division II State Player of the Year.

He averaged 28.4 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists in his senior year, leading the team to a No. 3 state ranking.

Also, he recorded a season-high 44 points. However, they lost to Chino Hills.

T.J. also gained McDonald’s and Ballislife All-American honors, and USA Today named him second-team All-USA. He also stood up as a runner-up to Ball for California Mr. Basketball.

He completed his high school career as a second all-time in the San Diego Section regarding both points and rebounds. He had 3,022 points and 1,476 rebounds.

However, he was behind his brother, Troy, in points (3,318 for Foothills Christian from 2007 to 2010) and Angelo Chol in rebounds (1,732 with Hoover from 2008 to 2011).

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TJ Leaf – College Basketball Career

Leaf went to the University of California, Los Angeles.

However, he committed in 2014 to play for Arizona under coach Sean Miller. He had also tried for the United States under-19 national team, under coach Miller’s mentorship. But T.J. was withdrawn from a training camp in June 2015.

He broke his commitment to Arizona in August 2015. He then signed with UCLA. Oregon and San Diego State also approached Leaf, but he chose UCLA over them.

Leaf was a consensus five-star and overall top-20 recruit for UCLA. Along with him were his Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) teammates from the Compton Magic, Ike Anigbogu, and Kobe Paras, who also got associated with UCLA. 

The UCLA Bruins also recruited Lonzo Ball. Ball and Leaf were expected to lead a UCLA turnaround in 2016–17.

Scores with UCLA

TJ recorded 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 assists at Kentucky on December 5, 2016. As a result, he was named Pac-12 Player of the Week.

TJ and Lonzo Ball were named to the midseason watch list for the John R. Wooden Award as well. It is given annually to the top college player in the nation. Also, UCLA was one of just five schools that had two candidates on the list.

The duo of Leaf and Ball also stood up among 30 on the midseason watch list for the Naismith College Player of the Year.

TJ Leaf (right) on a tournament for the UCLA Bruins.

Leaf registered a career-high 32 points on 14-for-18 shooting and added 14 rebounds in a 95–79 win over Washington State on February 1, 2017. His record ended a two-game losing streak for No. 11 UCLA.

However, T.J. Leaf had to miss the regular-season finale because of a sprained left ankle. He got injured within five minutes into the last game against Washington.

He ended the season as UCLA’s leading scorer, recording 16.3 points per game. Leaf recorded 8.2 rebounds on average. Also, he was ranked third in field goal percentage (61.7) among Power Five conference players.

Further, he was honored by the Associated Press (A.P.) for their All-American team. Leaf was also named first-team All-Pac-12, along with teammates Lonzo Ball and Bryce Alford.

Moreover, Leaf and Ball were selected for the Pac-12 All-Freshman team.

Leaf announced that he would be leaving UCLA to declare for the 2017 NBA draft on March 30, 2017.

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TJ Leaf – Professional Basketball Career with Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers picked T.J. in the first round of the 2017 NBA draft, the 18th overall pick.

He then signed a three-year contract worth $7,249,200 with the Indiana Pacers. He began the 2017–18 season as a fixture in the Pacers’ rotation.

2017-8 Season

Leaf averaged 16.2 minutes and five shots per contest through the first eight games of the 2017 –18 season.

But he struggled on defense, wrecking his playing time. Indiana Pacers’ coach Nate McMillan then had to tighten his rotation.

Leaf was sent to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA G League in December 2017. NBA G League or G League is the official minor league basketball organization of the NBA.

Leaf registered 23.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in an average in a three-game stint. He then returned to Indiana Pacers.

He played 52 games with the Indiana Pacers in the regular season. However, he had limited playing time towards the end of the season, with Pacers qualifying for the playoffs.

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2018-19 Season

TJ’s presence on the field was limited in the 2018-19 season as he played behind big men Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis, Thaddeus Young, and Kyle O’Quinn.

He recorded a career-high 18 points in a season-high 22 minutes on February 28, 2019. It was a 122–115 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Leaf then had to be in the game early because Turner and O’Quinn got into foul trouble guarding the Wolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns.

Further, he scored a career-high 28 points and 10 rebounds in the regular-season finale. It was a 135–134 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

2019-20 Season

Leaf put effort into making his jump shot better during the offseason leading up to the 2019–20 season.

He then recorded 13 points and a career-high 15 rebounds while getting extra time as a backup center on November 3, 2019. It was a 108–95 victory over the Chicago Bulls. However, T.J. Leaf fell out of the rotation by the end of November.

You can see TJ Leaf’s career statistics on the website of basketball reference.

2021- Present

After Indiana Pacers, TJ Signed a two-way contract with Portland Trail Blazers.

TJ Leaf – National Team Career

Coach Miller cut Leaf from the United States Under-19 junior national team in 2015. He then joined Israel’s under-18 junior national team a month later in July.

He then participated in the 2015 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship Division B in Austria, representing Israel.

Israel had a 73–72 loss in the Division B final. Nonetheless, Leaf was named the tournament’s Most Valued Player (MVP).

He registered 16.1 points per game, 55 percent shooting, and 8.4 rebounds per game in nine games.

T.J. Leaf looks forward to representing Israel’s senior team as well. He made a statement about how playing for Israel’s senior national team and helping the guys is one of his career goals.

You can watch an overview of TJ Leaf’s basketball career on ESPN’s website.

TJ Leaf – Career Stats


TJ Leaf – Career Highlights and Achievements

  • 2017 – First-team All-Pac-12 
  • 2017 – Pac-12 All-Freshman team
  • 2016 – McDonald’s All-American

TJ Leaf – Girlfriend

T.J. Leaf is in a relationship with Julia Reynolds Mills. He posted a beautiful picture of them together for the first time on July 10, 2020, on Instagram.

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TJ Leaf – Salary and Net Worth

The NHL players make really good money from their NBA career.

He signed a 3-year contract worth $7,249,200 with the Indiana Pacers in 2017. The exercised fourth-year option would pay a whopping $4,326,825 to Leaf.

T.J. Leaf’s net worth is estimated to be around $5 million.

At present, he is living a decent life in his 20s with a self-earned income. The leaf is often seen roaming around different parts of the countries for his vacations.

Leaf enjoying his Vacation
Leaf enjoying his Vacation

However, the information regarding Leaf’s personal assets like bungalow, car, the bank balance is still unknown at the moment. If found the readers’ll be updated soon.

Visit TJ Leaf – Wikipedia to stay updated on Leaf’s life happenings.

TJ Leaf – Social Media Presence




Common Queries About TJ Leaf

Which College did TJ Leaf go to?

TJ Leaf went to the University of California, Los Angeles, California. He played for the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball team while in high school.

When was TJ Leaf drafted?

The Indiana Pacers drafted TJ Leaf in the first round of the 2017 NBA draft with the 18th overall pick.

How good is TJ Leaf?

TJ Leaf is a good basketball player. He understands the game really well, as he knew it from his father since childhood.

He had also represented Israel in the 2015 FIBA Under-18 Championship. In fact, he earned the MVP title at the tournament. He has recorded pretty good scores for the Indiana Pacers as well.

Who does TJ Leaf play for?

As of 2021, TJ Leaf plays for Portland Trail Blazers.

Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah is an engineer and content writer passionate about sports and athletics. With a background in engineering and a love for all things active, Sanjib brings a unique perspective to the world of sports writing. Whether he is covering the latest trends in sports technology or sharing tips on improving your game, Sanjib's words are always rooted in a deep appreciation for players' hard work and dedication everywhere. In his free time, you can find him hitting the courts or hitting the trails, always looking for new ways to challenge himself and improve his skills.

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