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For decades, NCAA athletes could not earn any money even while drawing in millions of dollars for their school and the governing body of the top college athletic programs. The Supreme Court's decision regarding NCAA v. Alston in 2021 allowed athletes to earn money on endorsements outside of the school they played for, meaning that brands like Nike or even local businesses could pay student-athletes to use their name, image, and likeness (referred to as an NIL deal). So far, Nike has scooped up athletes like Bronny James but one subdivision of The Swoosh, Jordan Brand, had not signed any college athletes until now. As announced by Jordan Brand themselves, the soon-to-be UCLA Bruin Kiki Rice is joining the Jordan Brandy family.
At just 18 years old, Kiki Rice made a name for herself throughout her time in high school, being named the number 1 point guard in her class and the 2nd overall player in the class of 2022. Her signing with Jordan Brand at such a young age will seemingly help her as she navigates the collegiate level of play as she stated “Signing with the Jordan Brand is another motivating factor for me to continue to work hard and achieve my goals.”
Rice continued the praise, quoted as saying “Being Jordan Brand’s first NIL athlete is an incredible milestone, and I think it’s a testament to the hard work I’ve put in and all the people around me who have helped me get to this point.”
Together, the 5’11” Kiki Rice and Jordan Brand are set to help serve Rice’s local community by improving gender equity in sports for young female athletes. On top of this, Jordan Brand has made it a priority to include women through exclusive sneaker releases, PE colorways for specific universities, and by creating initiatives that empower girls with other signees to the brand like Satou Sabally. We’ll have to wait and see how Kiki performs on and off the court in her freshman year at UCLA but considering her talent, expect to see her flourish for the next few years. Keep it locked to our Twitter and the Sole Retriever mobile app to stay updated on the latest releases, raffles, news, and more in the sneaker and streetwear world.
Images via Jordan Brand