BRIGHTON, Mass. -- Former Syracuse recruit Darius Bazley, who opted to forgo college to work toward the 2019 NBA draft, has landed a job as an intern for New Balance.
The New York Times reports the 18-year-old Bazley signed in May with agent Rich Paul, who arranged for the 6-foot-9 forward from Cincinnati to work for the athletic equipment company for the first three months of 2019.
Paul, who also has LeBron James, John Wall and Ben Simmons among his NBA clients, told the newspaper the internship is part of a multiyear shoe contract that will pay Bazley at least $1 million and up to $14 million if Bazley reaches performance incentives written into the contract.
"They hooked me up," Bazley told the paper.
New Balance hasn't marketed basketball shoes since the 1990s. Bazley, who decided not play in the development league, is the first athlete signed to promote the company's re-entry into the basketball shoe market.
Bazley was ranked No. 18 among national recruits for the 2018 class by Rivals.
Bazley at first said when he decided to leave Syracuse that he was planning to play in the NBA's development league, but he eventually decided against it. The NBA G League held its draft on Saturday.
Paul told the Times the deal with New Balance was too good to ignore, even though his client will be giving up valuable court experience for an office job prior to the NBA draft next June.
"This is my risk," Bazley told the Times. "I'm going to go ahead and do it this way, and I'm still going to succeed, even when others say I won't.
"This will also be fun. It's not like I'm going to be doing something I don't want to do."
The slender Bazley, who was listed at 195 pounds in high school, also is working on his strength and skills.
Paul tells the Times the internship will give Bazley a taste of "a business that actually aligns with his interests."
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