2021 was a highly successful year for National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletes closing on name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals. Now, for this year, Black college basketball players continue to set the tone. This is especially true for Zia Cooke.
Data from Opendorse — a NIL technology company — released in March shows that women ballers specifically are the second highest paid in the organization. CBS News reports that Zia Cooke was marked as “one of the highest paid college basketball players in the Final Four.”
“It just shows that we can do a lot of things that a lot of people say we can’t do,” she said, according to CBS News. “To see all the girls on there for the NIL and I think it was just one boy it shows that we can do literally everything they can do. It’s a business and it’s super effective for women and men.”
Along with her hoop skills and being her team’s leading scorer on the court, the University of South Carolina’s women’s basketball star’s social media following is another main factor to her securing deals with big name brands. As of this writing, Cooke has 225,000 Instagram followers which have led her to charging $8,000 per post when promoting companies. According to the outlet, women basketball players have been getting to the bag with their high number of followers as opposed to men in the sport.
Zia Cooke's NIL Deals
Recently, the 21-year-old has teamed up with HR Block, in which she advocates for fellow female athletes, as well as sheds light on how she has learned the ins and outs of her NIL sponsorships thanks to the tax preparation company.
“It gave me a chance to show who I am for one minute,” she said. “I’ve done DoorDash, which was also super fun. I did Bojangles deals and I’ve done Fenty Skin, Rihanna’s line, so I have quite a bit and it’s just the beginning. I’m excited for what else is in store.”