NCAA powerhouse athlete Deja Kelly adds investor and brand ambassador of the premium hydration company BARCODE to her growing portfolio.
Established by NBA coach and professional trainer Mubarak Malik (Bar), BARCODE is a plant-based beverage company and a brand that strives to provide everyday wellness.
According to a press release, in this newly signed partnership, Kelly, a University of North Carolina sophomore and women’s basketball team point guard, becomes BARCODE’s first-ever female name, image and likeness (NIL) shareholder. This accomplishment also marks her first long-term equity deal for the star hooper.
“Our partnership with Deja Kelly is a no-brainer,” says Malik (Bar). “Her athletic excellence and unwavering commitment to healthy living align perfectly with our missions and value at BARCODE. We’re proud to have Deja join our team and help more consumers unlock their greatest potential through nutrition and lifestyle.”
Kelly is well-known as the leading scorer of the Tar Heels, having garnered several accolades during her freshman year. Recently named ACC Player of the Week, she is working to help her team win their first ACC Championship since 2008.
“Being a college athlete and aspiring businesswoman, generational wealth and wellness are both incredibly important to me,” Kelly said in a statement to Boardroom. “Having equity in a fast-growing startup that also offers the community a healthy alternative is a dream partnership for me. I could not be more excited to join Barcode in its mission to promote healthy hydration while also learning the fundamentals on how to grow and scale a company.”
The San Antonio, Texas, native was brought on board to help promote brand awareness and encourage the brand’s mission of living a healthier lifestyle for young athletes and women. In doing so, she is also set to be the official hydration partner of Deja Kelly’s Women’s Empowerment and Basketball Camps launching in San Antonio and Dallas in Summer 2022. According to the press release, the camps “are designed for young women in middle and high school to learn the fundamentals of basketball training, leadership, and essential life skills.”
“Innovation and empowerment are core to who I am as a woman and an athlete,” says Deja. “It’s incredible to be an ambassador to a company that shares those values and to own a piece of such a rapidly growing business.”
In addition, Kelly has signed deals with Postmates, Outback Steakhouse, and Dunkin’.
As BLACK ENTERPRISE previously reported, the Dunkin’ partnership will include elevating the “coffee and doughnut brand on social channels and have their own co-branded meals in their college towns,” according to Dunkin’.