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Top NBA Pick Paid in Bitcoin for BlockFi Sponsorship Deal

Former Oklahoma State star Cade Cunningham's multi-year deal with the crypto lender includes a bitcoin signing bonus.

Aug 19, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:42 p.m. UTC

Top NBA draft pick Cade Cunningham signed a sponsorship deal with crypto firm BlockFi Thursday that will see the up-and-coming Pistons point guard receive his signing bonus in bitcoin

BlockFi wouldn’t say how much Cunningham’s bitcoin signing bonus was worth. It intends to collaborate with the former Oklahoma State University star on educational and promotional videos through the “multi-year” deal.

The deal continues a trend of top-drafted athletes forging early-career pacts within the digital assets industry – and receiving at least part of their payout in crypto. Trevor Lawrence, the first overall draft pick in in the National Football League, received a mix of bitcoin, ether and solana when he signed an FTX sponsorship in April.

Crypto companies are racing to build brand recognition across global sports. Whether it's a soccer team wearing a dogecoin logo, an umpire emblazoned with FTX or a UFC octagon brought to you by Crypto.com, the big players have mounted an advertising blitz with their bull market gains.

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