Last Updated on October 31, 2022 by Kristi Dosh
Jordan Brand has signed its first name, image and likeness deal with Kiki Rice, a freshman women’s basketball athlete at UCLA. The 5’11” point guard was one of the highest-rated recruits in her class and was the Gatorade 2021-22 National Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
“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,” said Rice. “Signing with the Jordan Brand is another motivating factor for me to continue to work hard and achieve my goals.”
“Kiki brings energy and excitement to the brand as our first NIL signee,” said Jasmine Jordan, Rice’s rep at Jordan Brand. “She is a dynamic player on the floor and has a high basketball IQ. She has an eye for the game that can’t be taught, and it shows through her work ethic and drive to elevate herself day in and day out.”
Jordan Brand says it will collaborate with Rice on ways to serve Rice’s local community, including improving gender equity in sport for young girls.
“One of my biggest passions is gender equity, especially in sports,” said Rice. “Being an athlete, I experienced firsthand a lot of inequity, and I think leveling the playing field between boys and girls at a young age is something that I’m really passionate about in terms of helping bridge the gap.”
“Kiki is a signing for us that we’re extremely excited about, and it’s more than just who she is as a player,” said Jordan. “We’re interested in athletes like her because what really makes her stand out is her commitment to team, community, and people.”
Rice says her best advice to young girls who are aspiring athletes is to believe in themselves.
“My advice to young athletes, especially young girls who want to play at the next level, is to stay confident and don’t let someone else tell you what you can and can’t do. You’re the only one who can determine your limits, and there’s no reason why you can’t achieve the things you set your mind to.”
It looks like there’s no limit to what Rice can do. Even she is still getting used to it. Asked what it’s like to hear “Kiki Rice joins the Jordan Brand,” she said it’s still sinking in.
“It doesn’t even seem real yet. Growing up, I used to scroll through Jordan Brand’s website and see the athletes they had, or watch TV and be like, ‘Oh, they’re a Jordan Brand athlete.’ To now be one of them, it’s a dream come true and something I never really thought would happen. Now that it’s official, it’s the best thing that could have ever happened, and I’m so excited for the future.”
Rice had the opportunity to visit the Michael Jordan building on Nike’s campus for the first time recently.
“When we were first driving up to campus, I couldn’t help but to just think ‘incredible.’ As an athlete, sometimes we forget about everything that goes on behind the scenes – from footwear to apparel and all things in between – so it was insightful and eye-opening to be a part of meetings, provide feedback and be a voice they listen to.”
Rice and the rest of the Bruins women’s team kick off the 2022-23 season on Monday, November 7th.
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