Bossi's Best: Ten who could have cashed in on new NIL rules
Imagine if Zion Williamson had been able to profit off his own name, image and likeness during his lone year at Duke? With the NCAA’s Board of Directors vote Tuesday to start taking steps to allow athletes to do that very thing, we may not have to ask that question for the Williamsons of the future.
In this week’s edition of Bossi’s Best, Eric Bossi takes an alphabetical look at 10 players from the Rivals.com era that could have benefited the most from the ability to cash in on the new name, image and likeness (NIL) rules.
Lonzo Ball, UCLA
Bossi’s take: Easily one of the most debated athletes of the Rivals.com era, Ball was a huge social media star and played in a big-time market in Los Angeles. Love or hate his father, Lavar, imagine the types of opportunities that he would have explored for his son. Add in that Ball played a flashy, fan-friendly style, and it’s easy to see why he could have cashed in big on his name, image and likeness.
Michael Beasley, Kansas State
Bossi’s take: Easily one of the top five freshmen of the Rivals.com era, Beasley didn’t play in a big market during his lone year at Kansas State. But, he put up an absurd 26 and 12 a night during his one year of college and was absolutely adored in Manhattan. The Wildcats faithful had never seen such a high-profile athlete pick their school before and they haven’t since. Businesses would have been lining up to sign up the free-spirited Beasley as a pitch man.
Anthony Davis, Kentucky
Bossi’s take: Davis is one of the best freshmen of all-time. He led John Calipari’s lone national title team at Kentucky. Do I really need to connect dots for anybody about the types of marketing opportunities that would have been available to him? Davis’ appeal was national, and he likely would have been able to attract national possibilities for himself due to his skill, fame and where he played.
Kevin Durant, Texas
Bossi’s take: No, Durant didn’t win a title during his one year in Austin and his numbers fell just short of what Beasley did at Kansas State the next season. But, for my money, Durant is the best freshman that I have ever seen in college basketball. He was baby faced, a giant playing on the wing and easily likable during his time. I know Texas is a football school, so what he could have earned would be drops in the bucket compared to what somebody like Vince Young could have earned in Austin. But Durant would have been in demand.
Derrick Rose, Memphis
Bossi’s take: Rose didn’t have the outgoing personality that many others on this list did. But he sure had street cred, and he had an incredibly fun, high-flying, exciting style of play to watch. As a pro, Rose signed one of the biggest shoe deals we’ve ever seen with Adidas and starring for a high-profile team in a basketball-crazed city like Memphis as a collegiate player, he would have been rolling in the dough.
Ben Simmons, LSU
Bossi’s take: While Simmons put up incredible numbers at LSU, he did so at a football school and for a program that didn’t even make the NCAA Tournament. While that may be the case, he was seemingly on the national news at all times and as a native Australian, there could have been some really unique opportunities open to him. Add in that he seemed to relish being hated and there was some room for creative marketing.
John Wall, Kentucky
Bossi’s take: Similar to Rose, Wall played a flashy, athletic and fan-pleasing style of basketball. Like Rose, he also had a devoted following of fans before he ever stepped on a college court, thanks to fame he had achieved thanks to his popularity with the mix-tape crowd. A consensus first team All-American with the Big Blue Nation machine behind him, Wall would have crushed it. Just think of the crowds he could have drawn signing autographs at local businesses.
Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
Bossi’s take: Wiggins is another player who captivated the masses before he even made it to Kansas, thanks to his incredibly entertaining mix tapes and athleticism. A Canadian, he had the basketball hopes of an entire country behind him and he attended a high-profile program. It would have been interesting to see what types of opportunities would have been available to him locally in Lawrence and back home in Canada.
Zion Williamson, Duke
Bossi’s take: Whether you like college basketball or not, it was impossible to get away from Williamson last season. He was everywhere. I’m no marketing whiz, but even I can see that Zion would have been able to get paid handsomely on both the local and national levels as he built his brand during one loud season in Durham. From social media to traditional media, his smiling face and jaw-dropping dunks were everywhere you turned. The demand to sign him up as a pitch man – especially in the social media space – would have been significant.
Trae Young, Oklahoma
Bossi’s take: ESPN had a separate Trae Young tracker for much of the season. What more do you need to know? Young was on the television so much that it likely created some fatigue - and hate (much of which was misguided). The message board and Twitter debates about him were polarizing, to say the least. Young tapped into all of it to help fuel his development into a very successful NBA player for the Atlanta Hawks. Beyond that, he produced like never before seen at the point guard spot and he has charisma. Love him or hate him, he was always in the news cycle, which surely would have created opportunities for him to get paid while still in college.