The Kentucky Wildcats are in the middle of a slate of preseason preseason games in the Bahamas, but Oscar Tshiebwe isn’t lounging on the beach in his spare time. The reigning National Player of the Year is using his time wisely and is expected to earn around $500,000 this week, Athletic reported.
This is the third time the Kentucky men’s basketball team has played exhibitions in the Bahamas, and the second time in four years.
Tshiebwe, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is currently on a student visa, which means he has limitations when it comes to appearing in promotional content for NIL offers in the United States. . However, Tshiebwe figured out how to get around it and, compared, will have earned a total of $2.75 million in NIL trades by the end of the week. Tshiebwe was able to make money from his likeness through things like merchandise.
This week, when he’s not participating in games, practices or other team activities, Tshiebwe is spending his free time in the Bahamas working on ad reads, doing merchandise signings and photo shoots. According to Athletic, he did promotional work with four different companies on Monday before he even had a chance to unpack his suitcase. The next day, he stayed on the basketball court for an extra two hours after practice to do a photoshoot for a pizza company.
Kyle Tucker reported that during the team’s first meeting, head coach John Calipari allowed Tshiebwe to miss team activities all day to shoot commercials.
The 6-foot-9 forward earned all six NCAA-recognized POY awards after a successful junior season in which he averaged 17.4 points, 15.2 rebounds (best in the nation) and 1. 8 steals per game. He tested the waters of the NBA Draft but opted to return to Kentucky to improve his stock. Even though the season hasn’t started yet, he’s already making the most of it.
Tshiebwe told The Athletic that having the opportunity to earn money was like “God opened a door for him” of opportunity to help his family and others.
“I discovered that my mother was living in the worst situation. They lived like animals,” he said during the interview. “I worked, I trusted God, and God changed their life situation. I’m very happy. I can take care of my mother, take care of my brothers and sisters. Now I don’t worried anymore. I used to be like, ‘I don’t have any money. How can I help them?’ “
In the same interview, he said that the last time he returned home, he was able to help over 1,000 orphans. One of his motivations for continuing to work hard, even in the Bahamas, is to be able to earn more money to help feel more children and help them go to school for free.
Getting the money-making opportunity wasn’t easy. In February, he said he was finally “Open for Business” after joining a sports agency. Two months later, Tshiebwe met with lawmakers to push for a change to the current NIL rules for overseas athletes in the hope that they stop being so limited in the opportunities they can take.
His business efforts did not deter Tshiebwe from basketball. The Wildcats started their exhibitions on a high by beating a Dominican Republic national team 108-56 on Wednesday. Tshiebwe led his team in scoring with 17 of 8 points on 11 shots from the field.
Next up will be a game against Tec de Monterrey, a Mexican college team, on Thursday. No games on Friday, but the action will continue this weekend as they take on Carleton University (Canada) on Saturday and the Bahamas national team on Sunday.