Amon-Ra St Brown's dad is a former Mr Universe bodybuilder who fed him 'red meat' for breakfast

Joshua Rogers August 17, 2022
Amon-Ra St Brown's dad is a former Mr Universe bodybuilder who fed him 'red meat' for breakfast
Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Fans want to know about Amon-Ra St Brown’s dad John Brown, who is a former Mr Universe bodybuilder, after he appeared in Hard Knocks.

Hard Knocks is a sports documentary series that provides a peek behind the curtain of NFL teams throughout their preseason training camps.

This year it’s the turn of the Detroit Lions, one of the league’s worst teams (they had a record of 3-13-1 last season). After a distinctly Dan Campbell-dominated first episode, the second episode aired on Tuesday, August 16.

Lions wide receiver features heavily in episode 2

Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St Brown received a decent amount of spotlight in episode 2 this week. The 22-year-old showed off his impressive memory, rattling off all 16 receivers taken before him in the 2021 NFL Draft, including the colleges they attended.

“The chip on my shoulder I have right now comes from that day,” St Brown says. He also revealed he catches 202 passes from the JUGS machine every day. It’s hardly surprising he’s so dedicated to his craft given he broke the Lions’ rookie reception and receiving yards records last season.

His motivation is clearly partly inherited, though, as Amon-Ra St Brown’s dad John briefly appears to hammer home the importance of preparation.

Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Amon-Ra St Brown’s dad is a two-time Mr Universe

Rather incredibly, Amon-Ra St Brown’s dad John is a two-time Mr Universe. According to SI, John Brown grew up in Compton, California, and first picked up a barbell in seventh grade.

By 16 he was a regular in local bodybuilding competitions. John was 6ft 2in and 250lb, and throughout the late 1970s and mid-1980s became a bodybuilding icon. In 1981 he won the the Mr Universe amateur title. He also won the next year, making him the only man in history to repeat in that division.

According to, John “revolutionized the sport in the 1980s by incorporating dance moves into his posing routine, flexing in rhythm with musical selections that also bucked the norm. Classical music was the expected standard; John began posing to James Brown.”

Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

More on Amon-Ra St Brown’s parents and brothers

John Brown graced the covers of magazines across the world but, after retiring from bodybuilding, he knew he had to channel his relentless motivation into his three sons.

John met Amon-Ra’s mother, Miriam, at a 1987 fitness trade show in Cologne, Germany. Miriam Brown is from Leverkusen, Germany, and has a degree in physical therapy.

John and Miriam have three sons, all of whom are wide receivers. Equanimeous Tristan Imhotep J St Brown starred at Notre Dame and now plays wide receiver for the Chicago Bears. The middle child, Osiris Adrian Amon-Ra J St Brown, played college football at Stanford.

The youngest, Amon-Ra Julian Heru J St Brown, is with the Lions.

The boys are named because of John’s interest in an “underground black consciousness movement” in the 1990s. John chose his children’s names from an interest in African names, particularly Egyptian ones.

What John Brown is up to these days

John has been paramount to the boys’ success. He reportedly introduced them to weight training when they were in kindergarten, feeding them entree portions of red meat for breakfast.

“Lifting with my dad at a young age, you felt like you were stronger than every kid on the field. You mentally felt like you had an advantage over all the other kids,” Amon-Ra told “If you know you’re stronger than the guy you’re competing against, it breeds confidence.”

While regimenting their training, he would also place huge emphasis on academics. Due to Amon-Ra St Brown’s mother’s heritage, all the boys speak fluent French and English.

John was an art major at Cal State Fullerton and still works as an artist. These days he has his own protein brand, Cane Protein, but has mostly spent his post-bodybuilding career in the fashion industry, designing and selling everything from T-shirts to socks.

The family have their own business, Velvet Stone, which is a women’s retail and wholesale clothing company. John reportedly designs the apparel while Miriam handles the books.

However, all the St Brown kids know they owe their football success to John.

“Without him, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Amon-Ra said. “He’s pushed me from Point A to Point Z.”

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Joshua is a Senior Sports Writer at GRV Media with over five years of experience in online writing and editing. After receiving a BA (Hons) in Ancient History and an MA in Sports Journalism, he became a writer for a leading social publisher with over 7 million Facebook followers. Joshua then joined Reach PLC, covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online and regional publications like the Liverpool Echo. He then moved to a social media marketing agency and content studio, Brave Bison, acting as Website Editor for The Hook. Joshua now oversees all sports content on The Focus, specializing in NBA, NFL, F1, and tennis, while also keeping a close eye on his beloved Manchester United.