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San Diego State basketball’s run to the national championship involved turning every game into a rock fight and getting the ball to Matt Bradley. The senior guard was the Aztecs’ leading scorer in 2022/23, but averaged just 12.6 points per game.
Despite his lack of scoring prowess, Bradley established himself as one of the most valuable players in the country. As he went, both offensively and defensively, as did San Diego State.
And in the era of Name, Image and Likeness, breakout stardom directly correlates to financial compensation. Players who play well and build a national brand are of greater interest to companies looking to partner with athletes through NIL. That’s just common sense.
Bradley has 15.7K followers on Instagram, a number that saw significant growth during March Madness. As a result of his increased following and interest, the California-native signed a deal with Caktus.ai, which touts its product as “the first-ever educational artificial intelligence tool.”
It has also described itself as a way for students to spend less time on “meaningless writing assignments.” The company has sparked some controversy in the academic space, because of how it might take away from the learning process.
Its partnership with Olivia Dunne led LSU to issue a stern warning about using Caktus.ai in ways that violate the Code of Student Conduct. It also partnered with the Cavinder twins.
Caktus.ai isn’t concerned with the skepticism and has invested a large chunk of money on/in NIL. Its most recent deal led to a promotion during the Final Four.
Matt Bradley is a majoring in interdisciplinary studies.
As part of the NIL agreement, Caktus.ai asked Bradley to promote the brand in a media setting. Following the win over FAU, he had the perfect opportunity.
Bradley was asked how he balanced his required school work with athletics during the NCAA Tournament. Caktus.ai!
Yeah, it’s been the longest month I’ve been apart of. Every day I dedicate to being better as a player, as a teammate but off the court, we definitely have the resources to get us better in the classroom. We have tutors here, we have some free time to do whatever I got to do. Caktus.ai comes through clutch when I’m getting organized. It’s hard, but it’s manageable.— Matt Bradley
Bradley partnering with Caktus.ai is not illegal. Nor is it frowned upon.
However, as more and more athletes sign NIL deals with the artificial intelligence company, its brand will only continue to grow. That could lead to increasing concern of the universities surrounding its usage, like LSU.
It will be interesting to see if/how Caktus.ai’s NIL-focused marketing will play a role in a larger conversation surrounding artificial intelligence. In the meantime, Bradley is just the latest star athlete to promote the company.