NCAA athletes wasted no time in securing trademarks for names, phrases and logos once the NIL era began. From “Buddy Buckets” to “Hennything’s Possible,” here are some of the very best.
When the NCAA’s name, image, and likeness floodgates opened on July 1 of this year, student-athletes around the country all reacted a bit differently. Some went straight for the free food. Others held out to get the lay of the land and act deliberately. And some just wanted to play some live tunes, man.
With a major assist from trademark attorney Josh Gerben of Gerben Intellectual Property, we present to you Boardroom’s list of favorite NIL athlete trademarks claimed by college athletes in 2021.
UConn Huskies Women’s Basketball
Syracuse Orange Men’s Basketball
In the earliest days of NIL, there were a whole lot of buckets going around. And as two of the biggest names in their respective competitive divisions, UConn superstar Paige Bueckers and Syracuse scion Buddy Boeheim were always going to help set the pace for amateur athlete monetization whenever and however they got into the game.
Bueckers is a singular star in her sport and likely to be a future No. 1 pick in the WNBA Draft. Boeheim is basketball royalty. When you’re in their shoes, the buckets practically get themselves.
Georgia Bulldogs Football
“Julio Island” brand logo
Julian Humphrey is technically still in high school, having just committed to the University of Georgia on Dec. 15 during college football’s early signing period. That’s one of the reasons why he’s on this list — despite the fact he makes money moves almost as fast as he runs the 40.
(As a point of reference, he’s a track star that can run the 100 meters in 10.55)
We all know Revis Island from the namesake cornerback’s years of shutting down NFL receivers and the quarterbacks who dared to throw it his way. Welcome to the next episode, complete with a palm tree. It looks like it could be the official logo of an all-inclusive resort, though not one that would provide a whole lot of fun for opposing pass-catchers.
South Carolina Gamecocks Women’s Basketball
A lot is going right for Dawn Staley’s No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks, and that includes senior guard Destanni Henderson, who just dropped a season-high 17 points in Tuesday’s big USC victory over No. 2 Stanford. “Hennything’s Possible LLC” is pure poise, and a terrific nod to Kevin Garnett, one of the most inimitable intense human beings that has ever existed on earth.
Michigan Wolverines Football
“The Duce is Loose” brand logo
Wait — did Blake Corum forget how to spell “Deuce”? No, he did not. He’s going for a bit of a double entendre here. As he explained this week:
“BC2 — the Duce is loose. Instead of D-E-U-C-E, it’s D-U-C-E, which means ‘leader.’”
Factual. Il Duce in Italian does literally mean “leader.” We don’t have to get into whom the title is most closely associated with historically. We’ll set that aside and let BC2 cook as he gears up to take on No. 1 Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinals Dec. 31.
Hailey Van Lith
Louisville Cardinals Women’s Basketball
“HVL” brand logo
A rising star with ultra-formidable social media reach, Louisville’s Hailey Van Lith entered the NIL era coming off a productive debut season at Louisville that earned her All-ACC Freshman Team honors. The Team USA youth player makes our list by virtue of creating a brand logo consisting of her initials, but in a way that conceals them much more artfully than most similar attempts.
Is it actually an “HVL”? Is it a person in a hat? Turn it upside down — is it a different person in a different hat? Props to the two-time FIBA youth gold medalist for going for something a little different, setting herself apart yet again.
Purdue Boilermakers Football
“PROVE ‘EM WRONG” brand logo
What’s better than simply “betting on yourself,” one of the finest but unfortunately overused mantras in sports? Doing so and the haters and doubters look silly in the process.
Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis, a First Team All-Big Ten selection and a potential top-10 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, has made a point of exposing every last skeptic in the state of Indiana and beyond. And he’s paying homage to the chip on his shoulder by etching it in proverbial stone as a personal trademark.
Texas A&M Aggies Football
“D Money” brand logo
If your name was Demani, there’s probably nothing you could have done to stop your people from calling you “D Money” around the schoolyard as a kid.
Especially if you played football. It’s basically the law.
Richardson’s logo functions on two levels. There’s the simple “DR” if you’re into initials, but the dollar sign puts it over the top. Long live D Money.
(And if we’re being honest, what’s stopping him from straight-up changing his legal name? The pronunciations are scarcely different as it is.)
Boston College Eagles Lacrosse
Personal brand logos (3)
The world of college lacrosse, specifically on the women’s side, has been home to some real name, image, and likeness breakthroughs in the latter part of 2021. It started with North Carolina Tar Heels star Jamie Ortega, who officially became the sport’s first NIL athlete in November.
Nebraska Cornhuskers Volleyball
Personal brand logo
You work with what you’ve got. We all ought to, anyway — and when your last name is Sun, there are far worse places to start when building your brand identity.
An All-Big Ten selection and a two-time All-American as a Husker, Lexi Sun doesn’t just embrace her name, but her hometown: “EST. IN ENCINITAS, CA,” the outline of the lower half of the sun reads.
Michigan Wolverines Men’s Basketball
“Big Dickinson Energy”
What else is there to say after you’ve already read the phrase “Big Dickinson Energy?”