J.R. Smith swings into NIL game, to rep apparel

J.R. Smith swings into NIL game, to rep apparel

Former NBA player J.R. Smith has scored a name, image and likeness deal with apparel brand Lululemon that will make him the brand’s golf ambassador.

Smith, who went straight from high school to the NBA in 2004, has been a walk-on on the North Carolina A&T golf team after returning to school in 2021.

Smith currently is in the second semester of his freshman season at the HBCU. He is the first college golfer to sign a brand ambassador deal such as this one. And his standing as a 16-year NBA veteran has made him one of the most popular college athletes in the sport.

In January, Smith signed with Excel Sports Management for NIL representation. Smith’s agent, Lance Young, told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski at the time that there was high interest from golf apparel and equipment manufacturers in sponsoring Smith. Last year was the first time college athletes could profit off their name, image and likeness via sponsorships.

While Smith can’t promote Lululemon at NCAA-sanctioned events, he can appear in the brand’s advertisements — as he did in a recent golf campaign — and post about the brand on social media, where he has also been chronicling his return to the classroom as a full-time student.

The two-time NBA champion made roughly $90 million during his basketball career. He has been vocal about his desire to make golf more accessible for underrepresented minority players.

Smith last played in an NBA game on Aug. 13, 2020, for the Los Angeles Lakers.

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