Former NBA Champion Now Collegiate Golfer J.R. Smith Signs NIL Deal With Apparel Company Lululemon

NBA Champion and now collegiate golfer J. R. Smith recently signed a NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) deal with apparel company Lululemon.

According to ESPN, the ex-basketball player enrolled as a student and golfer at North Carolina AT&T has secured a groundbreaking NIL deal.

Smith is currently a freshman at the HBCU. He has become the first male golfer to sign a brand ambassador deal with Lululemon. He had previously played 16 seasons in the NBA, where he won an NBA Championship with LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 and then again with James in 2020 with the Los Angeles Lakers.

In January, Smith signed with Excel Sports Management for NIL representation. Lance Young, his agent, previously told ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski that there was major interest from golf apparel and equipment manufacturers in working with the 36-year-old Smith.

Smith is not allowed to promote Lululemon at events sanctioned by the NCAA, but he can appear in the company’s advertisements and promotions. He did so in a recent golf campaign where he has been documenting his return to the classroom as a full-time student-athlete.

The former basketball player went back to college to pursue a degree in liberal studies. Smith started attending classes on Aug. 18, 2021. At the time, Smith told reporters at the pro-am at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, that he decided to go back to school after having a conversation with NBA Hall of Famer Ray Allen, ESPN reports. 

“Ray Allen kind of convinced me,” Smith said at the golf event. “We had a little golf trip in [the Dominican Republic], and he was talking about some of the things he was doing, about going back to school and challenging yourself for us athletes. I really took heed to it and decided to go back — and one of the best liberal studies programs is at A&T.”