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Boardroom Q&A: Gradey Dick

Kansas freshman Gradey Dick discusses his transition to college, how he’s managed NIL, and more.

Sporting a blue double-breasted Dolce & Gabbana suit, Aviator shades, and enough ice to cool off the ESPYs red carpet on a sultry July afternoon in LA, Kansas forward Gradey Dick was in his element.

The 6’8 freshman was more than a month into his college life at the time, having arrived at the University of Kansas on June 4. That summer, ESPN’s 14th-ranked recruit was looking to prove himself alongside his new teammates with the defending national champion Jayhawks. A projected top-20 pick in next June’s NBA Draft, Dick had a ton of hype and, as he soon saw, a lot to learn.

In a conversation with Boardroom, Dick discusses balancing NIL, academics, and basketball, who he models his game after, and what his dream endorsement would be.

Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity

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Shlomo Sprung: Since you came to campus, did you notice elements of your game you needed to improve on in order to thrive?

Gradey Dick: Definitely. I feel like there’s always room to grow, for sure. There’s always room to grow in anything that you do. Getting on campus early and seeing what I bring to the team, and what I need to work on to bring more to the team. And obviously just going to the weight room and getting big, just all those intangibles.

SS: How have you tried balancing basketball with NIL and your studies?

GD: Fortunately for me, I have a great team behind me with WME. And my dad does a lot. His main emphasis on everything is just [me] focusing on the basketball side and they’ll all take care of everything else. So it’s just easy.

SS: When you saw the draft [last June], did you think about what that night’s going to be like next year?

GD: Definitely. It’s everyone’s dream as a basketball player. It was definitely mine as a little kid to walk on that stage and get drafted by a team. For me right now it’s just focus on the season, and after that focus on the draft.

SS: Who’s your favorite athlete to watch in a different sport?

GD: Probably Lionel Messi. I only like soccer a little, but I’m a Barcelona fan.

SS: What’s the one thing in the last year you wish you invested in?

GD: I feel like I can always update my wardrobe.

Gradey Dick attends the 2022 ESPYs (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

SS: If you could be endorsed by any company or product, what would be your dream one?

GD: I don’t know. There’s a bunch. I’m here thanks to Gatorade, so that would be really special. Dolce & Gabbana also, for sure. I love what they did with this outfit.

SS: What do you think about Adam Silver possibly letting 18-year-olds back into the league? And would you have gone straight to the NBA if given the chance?

GD: That’s hard. A lot of what-ifs. In the sports world, there’s so many things changing with NIL. That’s obviously something to think about.

SS: Which college team are you looking forward to playing against?

GD: Definitely Baylor with the Big 12. We’ll play them twice, and my boy Keyonte [George] is on the other team. A lot of guys I play with during the year are on a bunch of these college teams, for sure.

SS: Is there anyone you model your game after?

GD: I don’t know if I’d say model, but what I like to do is watch a bunch of things and take bits and pieces from peoples’ games to add to my arsenal.

SS: What’s the most helpful financial advice you’ve gotten?

GD: Some really helpful advice I learned quickly from the WME people is be patient with everything. Don’t rush everything, because you’re going to see a deal you’ll want to jump at really quickly. That might look good that day, but you can be patient and let that stuff all grow.

SS: What’s the weirdest NIL deal you’ve been approached with? Paolo Banchero said someone reached out to him about a suntan lotion company.

GD: No weird stuff, really. The safe answer is clothes.

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