The high school NIL trailblazer joins Serena Williams, LeBron James, and Billionaire Boys Club among Settlemier’s Jackets’ major collaborators to date.
As the two-time Oregon High School Boys Basketball Player of the Year and prized recruit of the Pac-12’s Ducks, Jackson Shelstad is Oregon through and through. With his home state becoming one of the more recent ones to pass legislation allowing amateur athletes to monetize their name, image, and likeness, the 4-star West Linn High School point guard is now building a brand portfolio with deep ties to Portland, which sits just 12 miles up the road.
After signing Oregon’s first-ever high school NIL deal in October with apparel company Portland Gear, Shelstad is now collaborating with Settlemier’s Jackets, a Portland-based, family-run premium letterman jacket brand that has worked with the likes of LeBron James (Nike x Tiffany & Co.), Serena Williams (Gatorade), and Pharrell Williams and Nigo (Billionaire Boys Club) among other global icons.
Shelstad’s connection to the James family in particular runs deep, as Oregon’s top recruit is already Klutch Sports Group client — the Rich Paul-founded firm brokered the deal with Settlemier’s — and after leading West Linn to an upset win over Bronny James’ Sierra Canyon High School earlier this season, the duo will now share the court this weekend for the USA team at the 2023 Men’s Nike Hoop Summit.
“When my family and I sat down to discuss NIL and what kind of partners I wanted to look at, I decided it was most important to look for partners that align with the same values that I do,” Shelstad told Boardroom. “I want to be authentic in this process and start to build longer-lasting relationships that work with me as I look to grow my brand and identity in this new space. I want to help tell impactful stories that connect to my community and be a local athlete that kids look up to and fans respect.”
As the brand’s first NIL athlete, Shelstad linked with Settlemier’s to create two exclusive jackets that celebrate his on-court accolades, including a custom chenille patch of Shelstad’s “JS” logo made with his creative director, Alex Hartman, and featuring patches highlighting the local, regional and national honors he’s tallied to date.
“The black jacket was really inspired by my high school journey at West Linn,” Shelstad said. “So many amazing memories with my teammates and accomplishing a lot of the goals I set for myself. As for the designs, I wanted my jacket to be different. I wanted it to be a premium, black-on-black jacket with larger patches. I also wanted to add details to the jacket that were unique to me beyond the classic state achievements, so we added and introduced my JS logo on the chest, which I’m excited about revealing.”
As he continued, “We added a Gatorade Player of the Year and Les Schwab Invitational MVP trophy, both achievements I wrote down as a kid that I wanted to accomplish. Finally, we added a hidden message, ‘The Separation is in the Preparation,’ which is a nod to my work ethic and time I spent in the gym. The jacket really came out as a piece of art and something special to remind me of my time and journey at West Linn High School.”
In addition to the major hardware earned this season, Shelstad averaged 28.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game on the season, leading West Linn Lions to a 32-2 record and a playoff run that ended in Oregon’s Class 6A state championship game.
Even though he’s due to make a 100-mile trip down to Eugene for his college career, it’s still about being true to the neighborhood.
“Partnering with local businesses is big for me also,” added Shelstad. “It’s about building the foundation through authentic partners in my community. I’m looking at partners who align with the person I am and the brand that I’m building. I’m looking for partners that want to think differently about NIL… I like the idea of being grassroots in nature but first-class in products and content. I want to lead by example and have fun doing it.”
Per company owner Aaron Settlemier — the third generation of his family to run the business — this is just the start of their partnership with Shelstad, who will star in a back-to-school advertising campaign with potential out-of-home placements around the Portland and Eugene areas. Additionally, future jacket design collaborations will coincide with moments in Shelstad’s life and career at the University of Oregon.
Unlike typical transactional NIL deals, this collaboration will evolve every year.
“We wanted this partnership to be as local of a story as possible,” Settlemier told Boardroom. “Part of our business ethos is amplifying where we come from. We always want to tell that story and shine a great light on this city, this state, and the people within it.
Every Settlemier’s jacket is cut, sewn, and assembled at their factory in the same Portland neighborhood in which Aaron grew up. It was only natural that their first NIL partnership would be with a local legend like Shelstad, who will now represent the United States in the Nike Hoop Summit, this weekend at the Moda Center in Portland.
Acting as an unofficial host of the Hoop Summit as the only participating player from Nike’s own home of Oregon, Shelstad will be joined on-court by top recruits like Isaiah Collier (USC), Justin Edwards (Kentucky), and DJ Wagner (Kentucky). This global stage is the perfect platform to debut his Settlemier’s jacket, a la LeBron showcasing his Nike x Tiffany & Co. letterman look during a Madison Square Garden visit earlier this year.
“I have vivid memories of my mother, Gloria, sewing names and numbers on team jerseys and cheerleading uniforms in the basement of our house night after night when I was growing up. Eventually, she was able to build the business to her goal of a complete varsity jacket factory,” Settlemier said. “When we see student-athletes like Jackson work so hard for his school, his craft, and his dreams, it reminds me of the work my mom put into making this company. He has a saying that made it onto the black-on-black letterman jacket, ‘The Separation is in the Preparation,’ and that says a lot about why he’s a good fit for us.”
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