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NBA icon Alex English on NIL: ‘I wish they had it when I played’

Alex English played for the Denver Nuggets from 1980-90 during his Hall of Fame NBA career. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

College basketball has changed a lot since Alex English first took the court with the Gamecocks in 1972.

The former South Carolina star remembers receiving just $15 a month for laundry when he was a student-athlete, a far cry from the new deals some players are being offered today. A shift in NCAA policy has allowed college athletes to profit off of their name, image and likeness, opening the door to lucrative corporate partnerships.

In the latest episode of NETLIFE with South Carolina head coach and host Dawn Staley, English explains why he thinks the new NIL rules are great for the game.

“The university made a lot of money, but the player never got that extra,” English says of his playing days.

While English acknowledges that NIL primarily benefits athletes who “have a status in the game,” he still recommends student-athletes find agents or partners to help them navigate potential opportunities.

“Find a person that can represent you and go out and do the work for you, because you don’t have time. You’re a basketball player,” he says.

Now that a new world of business prospects has been unlocked, English encourages college athletes to pursue what they can. “Every opportunity that they get, if it’s a quality opportunity, they should take advantage of it,” he tells Staley, adding “I wish they had it when I played.”

Listen to the NETLIFE podcast for more on English’s Hall of Fame basketball career, his role at the University of South Carolina and his thoughts on the sport today.