NBA legend J.R. Smith is ready for NIL deals.
According to ESPN, Smith — a freshman golfer and retired NBA guard — has just signed with Excel Sports for NIL (name, image, likeness) representation. The news was announced by his agent, Lance Young.
But what’s interesting is, this new deal is specifically for his burgeoning golf career.
“Smith, 36, is beginning his second semester for the Aggies, and his emergence as perhaps the most well-known Division I golfer has inspired significant endorsement possibilities that could earn him well into the six figures under the NCAA’s new name, image and likeness legislation,” reports the outlet.
The outlet also confirms that J.R. Smith made more than $90 million in his career in the NBA, and retired with titles with the Cleveland Cavaliers (2016) and the Los Angeles Lakers (2020) and earned a Sixth Man of the Year Award with the New York Knicks in 2013. But he’s hoping that his career in golf will serve as a bridge for more underrepresented groups to have representation in the sport. Currently, he’s at the historically Black college North Carolina A&T, which the outlet says has captured “significant attention” from his more than six million fans on Instagram.
What is an NIL deal?
An NIL deal is a “name, image, likeness” deal. Per NBC Miami, this is a fancy way of saying that a company can pay an athlete — like JR Smith — to tout their products, and the company can, in turn, use JR Smith’s name, image, and likeness in their promotional materials.
However, these deals are not without their limitations. Depending on the sport, athletes aren’t allowed to promote things like alcohol, tobacco products, e-cigarettes, anabolic steroids, sports betting, or a sexually oriented business.
But of course, there’s still a lot of room for opportunity and a chance to make history. Take, for example, Shedeur Sanders, Deion Sanders’ son who just signed a historic NIL deal with Gatorade.
Check it out here.