Bronx hoopers become 1st sponsored HS athletes in state
BY JASON COHEN
Now that high school and collegiate
athletes can cash in on their name, image
and likeness (NIL), two Bronx high
school basketball players are the fi rst in
the state to do so.
Top high school basketball phenoms,
Ian Jackson “Captain Jack” of Cardinal
Hayes and “Boogie” Johnuel Fland of Stepinac
in White Plains, inked their fi rst
NIL deal in late last year with Spreadshop,
an on-demand merchandise platform.
Spreadshop, which has partnered
with 15 college athletes so far, allows
players to build their personal brand.
Following the landmark decision
by the NCAA in July 2021 to allow college
athletes to earn money based off
their name, states are now passing similar
laws for high school athletes. That
means high school student athletes now
have the opportunity to monetize their
athletic abilities, potentially making
more money than their coaches, teachers
and parents before even graduating.
This will impact not only the athletes,
but their communities and families, in
some cases making the student-athletes
breadwinners of their families.
Close friends Jackson and Boogie,
both sophomores, began receiving
monthly four-fi gures salaries in December
2021, in exchange for one social media
post per week. In these posts, they
are required to identify themselves as
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BRONX TIMES R 20 EPORTER, JAN. 7-13, 2022 BTR
Top New York high school basketball recruits Boogie Fland (left) and Ian Jackson are sponsored
in their fi rst NIL deal by Spreadshop, an on-demand merchandise platform.
Photo courtesy Jaster Creative
The teens hope the deal will serve
as a catalyst for high school athletes
everywhere taking advantage of NIL.
Jackson and Boogie have Division 1 offers
from just about every school in the
country, including Kansas State, St.
John’s, Oklahoma State, Seton Hall,
Fordham, Illinois and Maryland.
“It feels good knowing that kids can
start making money and doing things
at an earlier age,” Jackson told the
Bronx Times. “A lot of high school kids
have a big image.”
Jackson, who plays shooting guard
for Cardinal Hayes in the Bronx, is
viewed as a possible fi rst round pick in
the 2025 NBA Draft and is ranked sixth
by ESPN in its 2024 college recruiting
list. The 6’5 Jackson, who lives in the
Bronxwood section, was a gold medal
winner with USA Basketball’s 16U
team in 2021 and was offered a Division
1 scholarship offer from Nebraska before
even beginning high school.
In October, his family received a
call from Spreadshop. According to
Jackson, it caught him off guard as he
only knew NIL was approved for college
athletes. However, much to his
surprise, he quickly discovered New
York passed NIL for high school athletes
“I came into it not knowing they
wanted to sponsor me,” he said. “I’m
glad they reached out.”
Jackson is grateful for the opportunity
that Spreadshop has provided
him. Being able to make money and get
his name out there while just in high
school is important, he said. He hopes
other high school athletes follow suit.
Going forward, his goal is to play
hoops in college and hopefully, one day
“If you feel like it (NIL) could help
you, then I think you should do it,” he
Boogie, of Grand Concourse, is a
star point guard at Stepinac and is the
No. 14 overall prospect in the class of
2024 by ESPN. He told the Bronx Times
that he got the nickname Boogie because
as a kid he used to dance a lot.
With everything that happened
in the past year and a half with COVID
19, being contacted by Spreadshop
was a blessing in disguise, he
said. Like Jackson, he had no idea
high school athletes could be part of
the NIL policy.
“I didn’t even know the law passed
for high schoolers,” he said.
Once he talked it over with his mom
and dad and looked at the contract,
he realized it was an opportunity he
could not pass up. Getting paid to play
basketball in high school is something
he never would have imagined.
However, even with this newfound
stardom and infl ux of cash, Boogie
still plans to stay humble and take it
one day at a time.
“I want people to know that I’m a
good person inside,” he said.
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