After Becoming The First Active College Basketball Player On NBA 2K, Duke's Paolo Banchero Inks An NIL With Yahoo Sports
Photo Credit: Erick Rasco/Sports Illustrated

After Becoming The First Active College Basketball Player On NBA 2K, Duke's Paolo Banchero Inks An NIL With Yahoo Sports

With name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals knocking on the doors of various student-athletes across the nation, many are securing new business ventures. And, next up is Duke University forward Paolo Banchero.

The college athlete has scored a NIL deal with Troika Media Inc. and Yahoo Sports. According to a press release, the collaboration was initiated to advance their Tourney Pick’em bracket game. Joining Banchero is a freshman by the name of Chet Holmgren from Gonzaga University, and both athletes will become co-ambassadors. In addition, Banchero and Holmgren will be featured throughout social and digital content campaigns across their personal social media channels.

“Yahoo Sports is one of our most longstanding and important clients,” said Aaron Sapiro, Troika’s Senior Account Director for Sports, according to a press release. “From our first project together nearly five years ago, they’ve consistently tasked our collective team to challenge the status quo and push evolution. We believe we’ve done that with this groundbreaking partnership.”

Not Banchero's First NIL Deal

The NIL deal is not Banchero’s first. The Duke star also made history by becoming the first active college basketball player to be featured on NBA 2K. Banchero had already snagged a deal with 2K Sports back in September 2021 and was told he would eventually score a slot in the playable game, according to CBS Sports. The rest is history as he made it onto NBA 2K22.

Fans will find Banchero in the “Season 5: Power Within” game mode, where players will be inspired to reach legend status.

“Become the hero the City and the Cancha Del Mar deserve, and reach your full potential as a Legend,” according to a statement on the NBA 2K22 website. “Gain inspiration from two-time champion Kevin Durant, 2019 first-round pick Rui Hachimura, and if the prophecy is true, future NBA superstar Paolo Banchero.”