NIL opportunities come from all sorts of avenues, but for Clemson women’s basketball star Amari Robinson, the ability to give back to the Tiger community was at the top of her search list.
Through TigerImpact, a charity-driven NIL collective that signs Clemson student-athletes to NIL deals to partner with organizations they would like to advocate for, Robinson has become an integral part of ClemsonLIFE.
ClemsonLIFE is a program dedicated to providing intellectually disabled young adults a collegiate experience. Robinson, whose younger sister battles Down syndrome, has used this unique NIL partnership to advocate for a cause that holds special meaning in her heart.
RELATED: Clemson’s TigerImpact NIL collective close to 50-athlete mark, says board member
When Robinson isn’t helping run classes for ClemsonLIFE students or participating in the program’s fall formal, she is leading the Lady Tigers on the court. So far this season, Robinson is averaging 13.3 points per game and in December against Charlotte, she crossed the 1,000-point milestone for her career.
In a recent interview with The NIL Deal Robinson discussed the work she’s doing with ClemsonLIFE and TigerImpact, her relationship with her sister, and her life as a student-athlete.
The NIL Deal: What is some of the work you’ve done with ClemsonLIFE so far?
Robinson: “With ClemsonLIFE I do their program, Volunteers 4 LIFE. That’s where we just sign up for different volunteer opportunities that ClemsonLIFE offers. I’ve done workout classes with them, health classes, and leisure classes to name a few. I’ve done one-on-one with students, for example going to one student’s leisure skills class, bowling, and helping her make sure she was bowling correctly. Other little events like their fall formal, I help set up and participate making sure everyone is having fun, dancing with them and just engaging.”
The NIL Deal: How did you first get introduced to TigerImpact?
Robinson: “One night, I was just doing homework and my coach had called me. She said, ‘Hey, this collective that started at Clemson is really looking for athletes, here’s their contact information and reach out if you’re interested.’ It’s more community service based so she thought it would be right up my alley. We’ve had a conversation about NIL deals before and it just seemed like something else that you have to do, like it’s not something that already flows with scheduling and things like that. So TigerImpact came around and it fit right in with what I was looking for.”
The NIL Deal: How does TigerImpact help Clemson student-athletes make a difference in the community?
Robinson: “It makes a huge difference in what we do. Student-athletes have that athletic and entertainment side of us and just being able to give back to those around us who give so much to us is really important. It shows that we’re more than athletes and who we are on the field. I think it’s really huge for us to have that aspect of being a student.”
The NIL Deal: How did TigerImpact put together your NIL deal and progress your partnership with ClemsonLIFE?
Robinson: “For me, it was about letting people know what I was doing. TigerImpact made it where I could use my platform to reach other people that may want to get interested in ClemsonLIFE and not know about it. Posting about different volunteer opportunities and different things that ClemsonLIFE has going on makes it more open and aware for other people. It also helps integrate ClemsonLIFE students with disabilities with the general population and with the student-athlete population, helping us all intermingle with one another.”
The NIL Deal: What impact has it had on you to be able to give back to the community and work with a program that is personal to you?
Robinson: “It just means so much. It makes everything worthwhile, just makes the hard days better. Going in and spending 30 minutes to an hour of my time to just listen to their day. It takes a lot off what’s on my plate, what I went through that day, and gives me a fresh perspective on life.”
RELATED: Brevin Galloway opens up on mental health, viral video leading to historic NIL deal
The NIL Deal: How has your sister’s story and the stuff your family has gone through impact what you’ve done with ClemsonLIFE and in the community?
Robinson: “She gives me that new perspective, that different outlook on life. Honestly, she’s so outgoing and never lets anything get to her. She’s taught me a lot of patience. Then of course, she gave me my passion for being a special educator. I think watching her grow and just being a part of that growth process, I wanted to do that for someone else. The people at ClemsonLIFE have so much fun there, it’s so fun to be around and I think it’s just a great addition to what I do every day.”
The NIL Deal: What does it mean to your family and your sister to watch you take this full circle and be able to make such a difference in people’s lives with disabilities at Clemson?
Amari Robinson being perfect from behind the arc? Yes please ????@mari_rob5 #Team48 pic.twitter.com/Nsyhtk7miX— Clemson Women's Basketball (@ClemsonWBB) February 3, 2023
Robinson: “I know it’s a big thing for my parents because growing up and not knowing what raising a child with Down syndrome looks like or what my sister’s opportunities in life are. Me being on the educational side of it and being able to tell them: ‘This is what this is, this is how you can do this, and this is what her post secondary goals look like.’ Giving them that resource to have a stronger sense of encouragement and sense of hope for her future.”
The NIL Deal: How do collectives like TigerImpact help student-athletes better navigate the NIL space?
Robinson: “TigerImpact was definitely one of those NIL deals that isn’t something you had to do in addition to your busy schedule, it fit right in. It’s very flexible. You just continue doing what you’re doing in the community, but just make it aware to everybody else by spreading awareness. A lot of other NIL partnerships want you to promote a product or do something that you probably wouldn’t normally do on a day-to-day basis. This is an authentic space where you can give back while getting monetized and compensated for it.”
The NIL Deal: If you could pick one brand to partner with what would be your dream NIL marketing partnership?
Robinson: “Definitely Crocs, I have so many! I think that would be an addition to my bank account from all the money I have already spent on Crocs. Also being able to promote something that I literally wear every day.”
RELATED: Will Shipley, K.J. Henry provide resources to Clemson students with NIL money
The NIL Deal: What did it mean to you to cross that 1,000-career point mark this season?
Robinson: “It was very exciting. Being drenched with water by my teammates was always fun. The accumulation of everything I’ve done over my four years was being recognized and being able to do that with my teammates was really cool.”
The NIL Deal: Who is your favorite player in the WNBA?
Robinson: “Candace Parker or Elena Delle Donne. Candace Parker because I always watched her at Tennessee, with Pat Summitt, and in a sense I think it was like the closest thing to my way of being there. As far as Elena Delle Donne, we have a similar history and story with our sisters having disabilities. Her using her sister in her motivation and what she does really got to me because we do the same thing.”
The NIL Deal: You have to get a bucket, where is your go to spot on the floor if you have to score?
Robinson: “I would definitely have to say somewhere within the low block area so that I could get a quick back to the basket score. Or somewhere around the high post where I could be able to create my shot or shoot it if I want. Being able to drive and kick out to somebody else, so it gives me a little bit more flexibility.”
The NIL Deal: What is your favorite artist to listen to before games?
Robinson: “Chris Brown as of right now. He gets me going before games with the throwbacks.”
The NIL Deal: Do you have a pregame meal or snack that is a routine for you?
Robinson: “I always eat some type of candy. Last year I was heavy on Ring Pops. Ring Pops were a must. I’ve sprinkled in some this season, but I’ve turned more to chewing gum before a game so I think that’s a plus.”
RELATED: Dabo Swinney on NIL at Clemson: ‘We built this in God’s name, image and likeness’
The NIL Deal: With this being your senior year and graduation coming soon, what are some of the goals and things that you’re looking forward to?
Robinson: “I just want to soak it all in and have fun. I’m definitely going to take my Kobe year to get my Masters so I definitely will be around for next year. Things are winding down really fast and it’s still surreal that I’m a senior. I still feel like I’m that freshman walking in still not knowing what to do. So, the plan is to live through every moment, take it all in and have fun with it.”