Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, a favorite to be a top five pick in next spring’s NFL Draft, has struck a deal on an NFT (non-fungible token) commissioned artwork with Nike owner Phil Knight and noted shoe designer Tinker Hatfield.
“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 in announcing the deal 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.”
Knight has been a long-time donor and supporter of Oregon’s athletic program. The partnership is one of numerous deals being struck between college athletes and businesses following the NCAA’s new interim name-image-likeness regulations going into effect.
“The art is completely hand-drawn on my iPad using Sketchbook Pro,” Tinker said of the artwork. “He’s 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.”
Thibodeaux was the Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year in 2019 and was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection last year. In his two seasons with Oregon, Thibodeaux has racked up 12.0 sacks and 77 total tackles.
Thibodeaux currently has the third-best odds to be selected No. 1 in the 2022 NFL Draft behind Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Rattler and North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell.