During a happy hour event hosted by Kansas-focused NIL collective Mass Street Collective, Jayhawks forward Jalen Wilson spoke to many former Kansas basketball players and expressed his feelings about their contributions to the program.
“One thing that coach has always talked about is making this place better than when you found it,” Wilson said, via KUSports.com. “It’s hard to do when you all won so much, but, with the support and love that we get every single night from people like you all, it makes it a little bit easier.”
Mass Street Collective manages many of Kansas’ NIL opportunities and the event served as a platform to educate everyone in the room about what name, image and likeness is about. Wilson spoke about all of the NIL opportunities that players on the team have benefited from so far.
“NIL’s been a huge blessing,” Wilson said at the event. “The city of Lawrence has given me so much and changed my life for the best. It’s very important because it teaches us not only how to use the money and build from that but also how to put it in the right place and the right direction to not only help ourselves and our families but also the people who support us.”
Former Kansas center Sean Alvarado, who played for the Jayhawks from 1986-89, said hearing Wilson speak about NIL gave him a better understanding of what is to come in the near future.
“We came to KU because this program was tops in the universe,” Alvarado said. “That’s what drew me here. But hearing him say all that makes me feel good. It’s a game changer for these kids.”
Ron Kellogg, who played at Kansas from 1982-86, was very blunt about his feelings.
“I only wish that that could’ve happened to my class,” he said.
Kellogg continued: “I think it’s great; it’s nothing but positive for these kids. It gives them every reason to work hard. Performance pays. It’s truly a job now, like a professional job, and every day you have to be at your best. There’s competition out there, and you can’t take it lightly.”
Dan Beckler, the CEO of the Mass Street Collective, says these events hosted by the collective will continue to shed light on the current landscape of college sports. He believes the collective’s responsibility is to lead Kansas student-athletes when it comes to landing NIL deals, but he also thinks they need to mentor these athletes to make the right decisions when it comes to embracing this new talking point in college sports.
“People have questions about NIL – how does this help the current student-athletes,” Beckler said. “And we get to help answer those questions. The former players who played here could have benefited from it if it was always around in their day. They’ve been in those shoes so they understand the need of how it can help today’s student-athletes and why it’s such a critical part of college athletics and Kansas basketball, the future of it, specifically.”