The Kentucky Wildcats are in the middle of a string of preseason games in the Bahamas, but Oscar Tshiebwe doesn’t spend his free time lounging on the beach. The reigning international of the year is using his time wisely and is expected to make around $500,000 this week, The Athletic reported.
This is the third time the Kentucky men’s basketball team has played shows in the Bahamas and the second time in four years.
Tshiebwe, who was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is currently on a student visa, which means he has restrictions when it comes to appearing in promotional content for NIL deals in the United States. However, Tshiebwe has figured out a way around it and will have earned a total of $2.75 million from NIL deals by the end of the week, according to the report. Tshiebwe could make money from his likeness through things like merchandise.
That week, when he’s not attending games, practice, or other team activities, Tshiebwe spends his free time in the Bahamas working on ads, doing merchandise signatures, and doing photo shoots. According to Athletic, he did promotional work for four different companies on Monday before he even had a chance to unpack his suitcase. The next day, after practice, he stayed on the basketball court for an extra two hours to do a photo shoot for a pizza company.
Kyle Tucker reported that at the first team meeting, head coach John Calipari allowed Tshiebwe to forego team activities all day to shoot commercials.
The 6-foot-9 forward won all six NCAA-recognized POY honors after a successful junior season in which he averaged 17.4 points, 15.2 rebounds (best in the country) and 1.8 steals per game. He was testing the waters of the NBA draft but opted to return to Kentucky to improve his stock. Even though the season hasn’t started yet, he’s already making the most of it.
Tshiebwe told The Athletic that the opportunity to make money felt like “God opened a door for him” to help his family and others.
“I found out that my mother was living in the worst situation. They lived like animals,” he said in an interview. “I put in the work, trusted in God, and God changed their life situation. I am very happy. I can take care of my mother, take care of my brothers and sisters. Now I’m not worried about saying, “I don’t have any money. How can I help you?” “
In the same interview, he said that when he returned home last time, he was able to help more than 1,000 orphans. One of his motivations for continuing to work hard while in the Bahamas is to be able to earn more money to help more children and help them go to school for free.
Getting the opportunity to make money wasn’t easy. In February he said he was finally “open for business” after entering a sports agency. Two months later, Tshiebwe met with lawmakers to push for a change in the current NIL rules for foreign athletes in the hope that they will stop being so restricted in what opportunities they can take advantage of.
His business endeavors have not distracted Tshiebwe from basketball. The Wildcats started their shows on a high when they defeated a Dominican Republic national select team 108-56 on Wednesday. Tshiebwe led his team with 17 points in 8-for-11 shooting from the field.
Next up on Thursday is a game against Tec de Monterrey, a Mexican college team. No games on Friday, but the action continues this weekend when they take on Carleton University (Canada) on Saturday and the Bahamas National Select Team on Sunday.