BDA Sports Management cites “fit” as one of the most
essential factors in selecting marketing opportunities for their clients. Their
goal is to forge sustainable relationships where the vision of both the athlete
and brand align. When top NBA draft prospect and client RJ Barrett, and trading
card company Panini America each expressed what they expect and value in a partnership,
it was clear to those at BDA that this was the right fit.

The resulting partnership will be an exclusive trading card
agreement, with Barrett’s first officially licensed trading cards and
autographs dropping this summer in Panini America’s 2019 Contenders Draft Picks
Basketball. “Panini is a giant in the trading card and memorabilia industry,
and it is satisfying to see their shared vision as evidenced by their
commitment to the influence RJ’s brand will have on the marketplace,” said Robert
Kinnard, Executive Director of Global Marketing for BDA.

The former Duke First Team All-American and Panini America
have both expressed a desire to give back. Kinnard said this is going to be a
philanthropic partnership among many other things. RJ has always had the best
interest of the community in mind and he plans on using this partnership to
further his efforts. He also wishes to grow his already strong brand and
outreach as he takes his game to the professional level. “I want to be a player
fans can connect with and follow throughout my career and I know working with
Panini helps me accomplish that goal,” said Barrett.

Another parallel between the two is their global presence
and history. Coined the “Maple Mamba,” RJ was born in Toronto, Ontario, and
grew up in France. When asked, Barrett quickly confirmed that this nickname
will stick with him at the next level. His father played professional
basketball overseas, so he was often on the move. Barrett started leaning
English at 11; his first language is French. He hasn’t lost touch with this
side of himself and places a lot of value in his unique upbringing. The Panini
Group is headquartered and was founded in Modena, Italy, famously known for
their balsamic vinegar and Ferrari sports cars. With aspirations of a long-term
agreement, expect this partnership to eventually spill over into the global

Barrett will carry notoriety abroad as well as at home. Kinnard
spoke to just how great his influence can be. “There are two types of fans in
America: avid and casual fans; RJ will reach both right away.” The 6’7” Forward
has made it clear to the media that he prefers to land in New York with the
Knicks. When you combine a basketball talent like Barrett with a marketing hub
like New York City, the sky is the limit. “The 2019 NBA Draft is shaping up to
be one of the biggest in the history of the league and RJ’s presence is one of
the major reasons why,” said Panini America CEO Mark Warsop. Sports fans across
the globe are going to rip open Panini trading card packs with the same demand
in mind, “I need that RJ Barrett card!”

Source: Sports Agency Blog