WNBA

Top WNBA prospect Haley Jones uses NIL to raise WBB

When the name, image and likeness era began, Stanford senior guard Haley Jones was already arguably one of the most marketable female athletes — she was an NCAA champion in the most popular women’s sport on a big-market Power 5 team.

But Jones took his time to build a NIL portfolio.

“I didn’t want to do any quick money grab deals,” she told Front Office Sports. “I was looking to treat it like being a professional while still having the safety net of being in college.” When considering brands, she asked herself, “Does this work with my values? Is it something I believe in?”

The 2021 Final Four Most Outstanding Player entered this season with a NIL rating of at least $75,000 — and has signed deals with some of the biggest brands, like Nike and Beats by Dre. But she also has partnerships with companies like natural hair care brand Uncle Funky’s Daughter.

On Wednesday, she launched her latest venture. She is the first college athlete to host a podcast produced by The Players’ Tribune.

“Sometimes I Hoop” will feature guests from the women’s basketball community, from South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston to Flau’jae Johnson, and cover topics ranging from performance to mental health to interests off the court.

“It’s always been really important to me to speak to my audience and use the platform that I do to spread a different message and be a role model for those who look like me and be a leader for other black women to look up to . to,” she said. “Being on this podcast gives me another platform to be vocal about how my experience has been different than others.”

It’s a win-win for The Players’ Tribune, which reached out to Jones and asked if she would host a podcast.

“We at The Players’ Tribune understand the importance of having more women with a strong presence in this space,” Ashly Robinson, Head of Original Content and Development, said in a statement to FOS.

The top-three WNBA draft prospect has high hopes for the future of the NIL — both for herself and for the next generation of athletes.

Like some other basketball players, including Gonzaga’s Drew Timme, Jones hopes a podcast can help jumpstart her career after playing. She’s considering dipping her toe into broadcasting after basketball and felt a podcast would help complement her communications major and a previous internship she did at women’s sports media company Togethxr.

Jones hopes the NIL can help athletes learn another valuable future skill: financial literacy. She wants schools to offer more classes, reading materials and overall education around “really understanding how to spend your money — make it work for you.”

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