As one of the top players returning to college football in 2021, it seemed like only a matter of time before Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux got in on the name, image, likeness changes sweeping the sport. Sure enough, Thibodeaux announced Tuesday evening that he is collaborating with Nike co-founder/CEO Phil Knight and popular shoe designer Tinker Hatfield to design NFT-based artwork.
"Life is filled with many trials and tribulations, but God has guided my steps and provided me with great opportunities AND the clarity to navigate them with wisdom and integrity," Thibodeaux wrote on his Twitter account. "It holds true that God brings people in your life for a reason and I've been so fortunate to have both Phil Knight, creator of Nike, and Tinker Hatfield, Designer of some of the most popular Air Jordans, believe in me and my prophecy. I'm honored to announce my first collaboration with Phil Knight — the Kayvon Thibodeaux Art piece, created by Tinker Hatfield, inspired by my success on the field."
"The art is completely hand-drawn on my iPad using Sketchbook Pro," Hatfield added in the statement. "[Thibodeaux] is an extraordinarily large and quick athlete with game-changing ability. I hope I captured his athleticism and the impact he's made for the University of Oregon."
You can see the art below, which currently sells for $107.46 (or .045 ETH for you crypto folks) on OpenSea.
Obviously, partnering with Knight and Hatfield makes sense for Thibodeaux considering Nike is the life blood of Oregon athletics. And it's a good investment for Nike. Thibodeaux, the former Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year and First-Team All-Pac-12 selection, is widely considered one of the top NFL draft prospects for 2022, if not the likely No. 1 overall pick, as we head into the upcoming college football season. In 2020, Thibodeaux had 38 tackles, 9.5 of which were for loss, and three sacks.