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Houston basketball signs team-wide NIL deal with Actively Black

Pete Nakos02/28/23
Article written by:On3 imagePete Nakos


Houston basketball
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Houston is primed to land the No. 1 overall seed in next month’s NCAA Tournament. With that comes with plenty of eyeballs focused on the Cougars, plus more NIL opportunities.

The owner of Houston’s Gallery Furniture, Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, pledged seven figures to the team in a partnership through the NIL collective LinkingCoogs earlier this season.

The Cougars have now signed another team-wide deal, this time with Actively Black. The sportswear company was founded by former Houston star and NBA player Lanny Smith. An athleisure company, the brand donates and invests a portion of its proceeds to address healthier food options in Black communities, physical training and exercise, mental health, social justice initiatives and HBCU athletes.

The partnership with Houston comes at the end of Black History Month and celebrates former Houston player Elvin Hayes, who was one of the first black athletes to play at Houston. During his career with the Cougars, the forward matched up with Lou Alcindor in the “Game of the Century.” He went on to be the No. 1 pick in the 1968 NBA draft.

As part of Actively Black’s NIL campaign with Hayes and Houston, the company has produce an exclusive T-shirt collective. The shirts read “Black History is Our History. In 1964 UH made history as the first major university in the south to integrate intercollegiate athletics, paving the way for trailblazers Elvin Hayes and Don Chaney to break the color barrier as the first Black UH basketball players. There is greatness in our DNA.”  

The terms of the agreements were not disclosed. Actively Black has worked with a number of college athletes, previously signing Travis Hunter and brothers Shedeur and Shilo Sanders, along with Deja Kelly.

Led by Marcus Sasser, Houston is currently 27-2 with a 15-1 mark in AAC play. Sasser, who is in the running for National Player of the Year, is averaging 17 points and three assists per game while shooting 43.4 percent from the floor. He’s ready to be the go-to guy for a program that fell short of reaching the Final Four, falling to Villanova in the Elite Eight.