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UConn star Paige Bueckers signs NIL deal with Gatorade

As she continues to build out her budding marketing profile during the early stages of the NCAA's Name, Image and Likeness era, UConn star Paige Bueckers has signed a multi-year NIL endorsement deal with Gatorade.

After becoming the first freshman to ever win the John Wooden Award as the nation's best collegiate female player last season, the deal makes the 5-foot-11 Bueckers Gatorade's first NCAA athlete partner. The company called Bueckers "the perfect addition to the Gatorade Family" in a statement.

The 2019-20 Gatorade National Girl's Basketball Player of the Year joins a current Gatorade roster of select endorsers that also includes Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, Abby Wambach, Elena Delle Donne, Candace Parker, Zion Williamson and Jayson Tatum.

"It was a blessing to win Gatorade Player of the Year in high school, and now it's truly surreal to be an official member of the Gatorade Family," Bueckers said. "I know this is just the beginning of our partnership and I can't wait to get to work with Gatorade to drive impact in the community and on the women's game."

To announce the deal, Bueckers was photographed wearing a Gatorade logo varsity jacket, paired with a Gatorade collaboration edition of the Air Jordan 1 Retro High. The "Lemon Lime" themed colorway was part of a four-shoe pack released in recent years that celebrated Jordan's iconic "Be Like Mike" campaign from the early 1990s.

Bueckers' first NIL deal, also negotiated by a team of marketing agents at Wasserman and announced earlier this month, landed her a multi-year endorsement deal with sneaker marketplace StockX.

Bueckers is expected to be featured in national campaigns and community activations throughout the Huskies' current season. Due to the WNBA's age restriction, the potential future No. 1 overall draft pick isn't draft eligible until the spring of 2023.

"From her electrifying performances on the court to fueling change off of it, Paige exemplifies everything it means to be a Gatorade athlete," said Jeff Kearney, Global Head of Sports Marketing at Gatorade. "Partnering with her is a statement to the next generation of our continued commitment to women in sport."