Kiki Rice Signs as Jordan Brand’s First NIL Athlete

During her time as a high school athlete, Kiki Rice ’22 received a plethora of awards: two-time DC Gatorade Girls Soccer Player of the Year, two-time Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year, the 2022 Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year and 2022 Naismith High School Girls Player of the Year. Also an alumnae of Team USA Basketball and the McDonald’s All-American game, Rice’s accomplishments are plentiful.

Currently playing at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Rice has added yet another achievement to her resume. On Oct. 26, Jordan Brand announced its first-ever collegiate NIL deal with Rice. Though college athletes’ ability to profit from their names, images and likenesses has long been a topic of intense discussion, a 2021 Supreme Court ruling has enabled NCAA athletes like Rice to legally profit from NIL deals.

Jordan Brand released a statement in the Nike Newsroom announcing that it will collaborate with Rice “on ways to serve [her] local community, like helping improve gender equity in sport for young girls.”

Rice said that being Jordan Brand’s first NIL deal is “an incredible milestone” and is a “testament to the hard work [she’s] put in,” per Sports Illustrated. She also credits the people around her, including her family, friends, coaches and teammates, with helping her get to this point in her career. Rice hopes to motivate other young girls to participate in sports by serving as a role model for them and, in turn, grow the girls’ basketball community.

When Rice announced her deal to her UCLA teammates and coaching staff after a training session, she gifted each person a new pair of Jordans to celebrate. With this partnership, Rice will be joining professional basketball players Rui Hachimura, Jayson Tatum, Russell Westbrook and Satou Sabally as a Jordan ambassador. Rice believes that as Jordan athletes, they will shape the “future of basketball on and off the court.”

Rice’s debut as both a college athlete and a Jordan Brand Athlete was on Nov. 7, at a game against California Polytechnic State University. The Bruins won 84-48, with Rice contributing 29 minutes, 12 points and seven assists. In a post-game interview, Rice said that it felt great to play in her first college game, a moment that she has been looking forward to for a long time. With Rice headlining UCLA’s impressive recruiting class, the program is looking to make a run at the Pac-12 title this year.