Paolo Banchero is already making history.
Duke basketball’s freshman forward and top-tier NBA draft candidate is featured as a character in NBA 2K22, Banchero announced on social media Friday. The announcement—first reported by Boardroom Friday morning—coincides with the latest version of the classic video game’s long-awaited release to the public, and the NIL deal makes Banchero the first college basketball player ever to appear in any iteration of the NBA 2K series.
The historic nature of Banchero’s deal cannot be understated: since the NCAA instituted temporary name, image and likeness policies in June 2021, many of college athletics’ brightest stars have signed groundbreaking deals, but few rival the shock value and cultural impact of Friday’s news.
Clarification: An earlier version of this article wrote Banchero was a "playable character" in NBA 2K22. At the moment it is unclear whether users can actually play as Banchero in the game.