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Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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College Players Enter NBA Draft With NIL Deals for First Time

  • A group of players will join NBA teams with more money in their pockets than ever before — thanks to NIL rules.
  • Men’s basketball players were some of the biggest winners of the early NIL era, raking in 17% of all such compensation.
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Leaving NCAA basketball for the NBA Draft used to open two major revenue opportunities for players: salaries and sponsorships. 

But Thursday evening’s draft will be a bit different. For the first time, a group of players will join NBA teams with more money in their pockets than ever before — thanks to name, image, and likeness rules. 

For the past year, NCAA athletes have been allowed to sign endorsement and sponsorship deals. Men’s basketball players raked in 17% of all such compensation reported through Opendorse’s platform — second only to football.

Top Projected Picks

To understand the magnitude and success of NIL endorsements for top basketball players, look no further than the existing portfolios of two projected top picks. 

  • Duke’s Paolo Banchero has inked deals with brands like JD Sports, Yahoo Sports, Panini America, and NBA 2K. His NIL valuation, per On3, topped $240,000.
  • Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren has partnered with companies like Bose and Topps. His On3 NIL valuation is almost $300,000.

Top NBA contracts pay out much more than these deals, but given the marketing skills they’ve already developed through NIL, their earning potential could be higher than any other generation in NBA history.

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