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Duke Blue Devils forward Paolo Banchero on Friday announced that he has signed an endorsement contract with 2K Sports, becoming the first collegiate athlete to appear in any NBA 2K video game.
The news was first reported by The Boardroom.
On Friday, NBA 2K22 was released worldwide across all platforms ahead of the 2021-22 season. Banchero will be a playable character on the video game and will help 2K Sports create additional content throughout the upcoming season.
Banchero is the latest player to sign an endorsement contract following recent legislation enabling collegiate athletes to profit off of their name, image and likeness. He recently signed with CAA Basketball to negotiate future NIL opportunities.
Banchero opted out of playing last season but was named the Washington Gatorade Player of the Year two years ago as a junior after averaging 22.6 points, 11 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.6 blocked shots. He is considered to be the No. 2 overall prospect in the class of 2021.
The 19-year-old is in the conversation to be the No. 1 overall pick next year. He has been highly touted for his ability on both ends of the floor and has proven that he can score at all three levels on the court. He also has the size at 6 feet, 10 inches that NBA teams covet.
Given his skillset on the court, Banchero was viewed as a prime candidate to cash in on his name, image and likeness this season at Duke. With the news on Friday that he will sign with 2K Sports, his NIL deal will go down in the history books.
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