Introducing 4-year-old basketball coach Christopher Bess

Christopher Bess coaches with his dad, Reginald Bess, for Tarboro High School. Anaya Brinson

When Christopher Bess was in pre-K, his school held a career day. He dressed as a coach with a whistle, a shirt and a hat to emulate his father, Reginald Bess, the varsity coach for the Tarboro High School boys' basketball team in North Carolina.

Now, he's going viral for being known as the "2024 Youth Coach of the Year" and coaching alongside his father. Before their games, Christopher pumps the team up with a pregame speech.

A video of Christopher's pregame speech posted on Feb. 23rd has now garnered over 1.3 million views on Instagram and has grown his account to over 70,000 followers in under a week. His social media page includes other coaching tactics such as leading drills, shuttle runs and breaking from the team huddles.

"When I coach my whole butt off, y'all play y'all whole butt off," Christopher told the Tarboro Vikings team in a pregame speech.

Reginald has enjoyed the impact Christopher has made.

"I feel like him being a little African American kid, man, he's making a big impact," Reginald told ESPN. "It's positive to see because he's just a good kid. He's always laughing, he's always smiling and if he sees somebody not with a smile on their face he'll ask them like 'What's wrong/' or he'll go up to them if he knows them like 'Put a smile on your face!' and no matter what they're going through, even if they're going through hell, they'll put a smile on their face."

Though Christopher is only 4 years old, he takes basketball and coaching seriously. He has a handful of game-day superstitions that he follows consistently.

On days when the Tarboro High School basketball team has a game, Christopher wakes up and eats a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios -- his favorite cereal -- before going to "work." After school, he comes home to change into his game-day attire: a polo shirt with a Viking logo and "L'il Coach Bess" stitched underneath, a pair of khaki pants, his black Nike Air Max 270 sneakers and a pullover that he won't ditch until the third quarter.

His older brother, Reggie Bess, is a player on the varsity team and says Christopher is a challenging coach.

"Sometimes I feel like Christopher gets on me more than my dad," Reggie said. "I'll miss a basket or turn the ball over [and] he's yelling at me [while] my dad is like 'Get back on defense,' and Christopher is still over there yelling about the turnover that happened two plays ago. It's fun to see him on the sidelines enjoying what he likes."

Christopher's presence leaves a positive impact on the team. Even though his voice may be quieter than the players', they still listen and do what the young coach calls for.

"At times, Christopher is very, I guess, useful," Reggie said. "Sometimes on defense, we could be in a zone and Christopher will say 'Somebody drop back-side' and the back-side wing actually needs to drop, so Christopher will tell them and the wing actually listens to him and drops. Little things like that make him even more valuable."

When the Vikings play other teams, coaches treat Christopher as if he were an adult coach. Coaches address him respectfully, followed by replies to Christopher's pregame trash talk.

"Christopher is gonna be Christopher with a smile on his face and he'll tell them 'You ain't gonna win tonight, this our night!'" Reginald told ESPN. "He loves to compete and talks trash in a positive way and the [opposing] coaches love that about him."

When Christopher isn't coaching alongside his dad, he plays (and coaches) in the Upward Sports basketball league. However, his passion lies in coaching his team to win and throwing a towel on the ground for every mistake made.

"[Playing's] a little too far," Christopher said with a smile. "You can take me as a coach, but as a player? No, that's a bit too far."