Why Shareef O’Neal, the Son of NBA Icon Shaquille O’Neal, Has the Highest NIL Earning Potential on Instagram

NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal made a lot of money on the basketball court. His son, college hoops star Shareef O’Neal, has potential to do the same.

Sports media company The Action Network has revealed a list of college athletes, dubbed The NCAA Rich List, who could charge the most per sponsored Instagram post under the new name, image and likeness rules. To create the list, The Action Network said it used marketing and analytical tool HypeAuditor to reveal follower counts and engagement rates on the social media platform, with data accurate as of Sept. 10. The amount athletes could earn was calculated using social listening data, which revealed users could earn an estimated $0.004 per post, per follower.

Shareef O’Neal, who plays basketball at LSU and is in his junior year, topped the list. With his more than 2.7 million followers on Instagram, The Action Network revealed a price per sponsored post for the athlete of $10,819.51.

Olympic gold medal-winning gymnastics star Sunisa Lee, who is a student at Auburn University, came in at No. 2 with 1.6 million followers and a price per post of $6,403.32.

LSU gymnastics standout Olivia Dunne (1.3 million followers, $5,208.44 per post); Texas Southern basketball player Shaqir O’Neal, who is the youngest son of Shaquille O’Neal (973,992 followers, $3,895.97 per post); and UConn basketball star Paige Buecker (908,228 followers, $3,632.91 per post) round out the top five.

At the end of June, the NCAA announced that an interim policy was adopted by all three divisions suspending NIL rules. This will impact both incoming and current student-athletes across all sports.

Not long after, the deals started to get signed. On July 1, Kellan Grady, a former Davidson College guard who transferred to Kentucky in March, announced that he had signed an off-court footwear deal with ISlide. On its Instagram post, ISlide stated Grady’s deal made him the first NCAA player to sign with a footwear brand.

And the deals could soon be handed out to even younger athletes.

Shams Charania, NBA insider with The Athletic and Stadium, broke news via Twitter last month that Puma is reportedly close to signing an endorsement deal with Mikey Williams, a high school basketball star with a massive presence on social media. Charania said Williams would sign a deal under the new name, image and likeness rules approved by the NCAA.

At press time, Williams has 3.2 million followers on Instagram.

In an email with FN following Charania’s tweet, Puma said it would not confirm or deny the report.

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