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Chet Holmgren announces partnership with Topps

The Minneapolis native is the latest to capitalize on NIL deals.

The Topps Company announced a new partnership with Gonzaga forward Chet Holmgren on Wednesday, making the Minneapolis native the latest student-athlete to cash in on the NCAA's new rules on Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) commercial deals.

“I am beyond excited to be partnering with such an iconic company like Topps who has showcased some of the best athletes in the world over the last 80 years,” Holmgren said in a press release. “I’m looking forward to teaming up with Topps as they continue to capture the action of the game and I’m excited to share my passion of basketball with fans and collectors around the world.”

Holmgren's partnership with the trading card manufacturer is the largest the company has made with a collegiate athlete. The deal will include his likeness featured on physical and digital trading cards, rights for products such as Bowman University Basketball and Bowman NEXT, autographed trading cards and curated social media content to be released in 2022.

The partnership will also feature a player-curated set, an artist-based set and the Topps NOW cards which feature highlights from the 2021-22 season. 

The proceeds from the sales will go to Can Do Canines, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities by creating mutually beneficial partnerships with specially trained dogs.

Holmgren has become a star in his freshman season with the Bulldogs, averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds in 14 games this season. ESPN has Holmgren listed as the No. 1 prospect in the 2022 NBA Draft and Gonzaga is ranked second in the latest AP Top 25 poll with a record of 12-2.

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For all the success on the court, Holmgren is now following in the footsteps of other student-athletes to take advantage of the new rules, which allowed student-athletes to make money off their name, image and likeness beginning last July.

Opendorse reported that as of the end of last year, the average compensation for a Division I athlete with at least one deal is $391. Division II athletes make an average of $78 while Division III athletes average $35.

Orlando Magic guard and Minneapolis native Jalen Suggs used the rule to sell an NFT of his game-winning shot in last year's NCAA tournament while UConn guard and Hopkins native Paige Bueckers signed an endorsement deal with Gatorade last summer that is worth an estimated $1 million per year. 

Gopher wrestler and Apple Valley Gable Steveson also cashed in last fall, becoming the first student-athlete to sign a NIL deal with World Wrestling Entertainment.

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