Special-edition Kingsford Charcoal bag trolls the NCAA

A special edition Kingsford Charcoal bag features Ed O'Bannon on the front
A special edition Kingsford Charcoal bag features Ed O'Bannon on the front

Don't expect to see any Kingsford Charcoal signage during the NCAA tournament next month.

The company likely killed all hope of that Thursday when it unveiled special-edition bags of charcoal trolling the NCAA.

The image on the front of the bag is that of Ed O'Bannon, the former UCLA star who last August won a lawsuit challenging the NCAA’s unwillingness to pay athletes for the use of their names and likenesses. The bags also feature the hashtag #PayEd and the slogan "Lights 25% faster. Doesn't burn athletes."

"Kingsford Charcoal has become one of the many companies to use the likeness of a famous amateur basketball player for marketing purposes during that mad, mad month of March," a press release revealing the limited edition bags read. Kingsford is just adding a surprising twist: the charcoal brand is actually going to pay that player— Ed O’Bannon— for placing him on the front of a limited bag of charcoal."

One way in which Kingsford intends to compensate O'Bannon is through its #PayEd hashtag. For every tweet that includes that hashtag, Kingsford will pay O'Bannon $1, up to $25,000.

[Yahoo Sports Tourney Pick 'Em: Enter for a chance to win $50K]

In reality, any money O'Bannon receives is probably secondary to the publicity both he and Kingsford could get. For O'Bannon, the unusual charcoal bags shine a spotlight on his cause. For Kingsford, the unusal charcoal bags shine a spotlight on its brand.

- - - - - - -

Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

Follow @JeffEisenberg