By Keisha J Kelley
July 1, 2021
The decision to allow student athletes , to use Image, Name, and Likeness, came on June 30, and at midnight, Jackson States, Antwan Owens became one of the first athletes in the country to take advantage of the historic moment.
Like most guys, Owens use to grow his hair out. Nothing special, nothing major, just a low fro. But with time, he transitioned in college, and his hair matches where he is going with his career.
Now, his hair has become his business. Thursday, the defensive end made history, believed to be the first college athlete to sign an endorsement deal in college athletics. He signed the deal with 3 Kings Grooming, a black-owned hair product business.
It seems surreal to Owens as he states "someone pinch me", as reported from Sports Illustrated. “This is something that’s going to be life changing, generationally life changing.”
“We’re making history,” says Michael Nwankwo, one of three brothers who runs the Cincinnati-based company that sells luxury hair products and equipment. “We’ve gone through the roster on JSU’s team. We saw Antwan. He fit the mold of what our brand is. We have an image of our brand.”
ICON Source, a digital marketplace connecting brands with athletes, facilitated the deal with the two parties. Financial terms were not released. The company also struck similar deals with four other players at Jackson State
The deals with JSU players bring a spotlight to the HBCU and black community, says Eric Nwankwo.
“For us, HBCUs are very important,” he says. “The main colleges get the credit and no one really pays attention to the HBCUs. What Deion is trying to do to get these athletes paid and recognized, that’s why this was our first choice.”
Although Owens is the first student athlete to ink a deal, we know he won't be the last and quite frankly when it comes to HBCU's, we love to see it!