Kendall Milton wants to be fast and in a few weeks he will be faster than ever.
The junior running back grew up playing with Hot Wheels toy cars and watching car videos. From this developed a love and appreciation for cars, especially high performance cars.
Milton isn’t particularly into NASCAR or newly popular F1 racing.
“It’s more about street cars, be it muscle cars like HellCats or exotic cars like Ferrari or McLaren,” he told the Athens Banner-Herald. “These are the cars that I love very much.”
Despite not being able to drive his dream car – a 2020 McLaren 720S – on June 26, he will be racing around in a BMW at the BMW Performance Driving School in Greer, South Carolina as part of a newly introduced NIL opportunity with The Players’ Lounge.
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The Players’ Lounge, which connects student-athletes with fans, was founded last fall and this month launched The Players’ Lounge Experiences with the intention of providing fans with unique experiences alongside their favorite Georgia students.
“This opportunity allows our student-athletes to come to us and say, ‘we’re really into race cars’ or ‘we’re really into golf’ or ‘we want to do something with sports and outdoors,’ and we can go out there and brands checked and basically unique experiences put together to give the player some publicity but connect them with the fans on a different level,” said Aaron Leicht, spokesman for The Players’ Lounge. “(Milton) is the first in a line of many who will be attending the Players’ Lounge Experience. He came to us and said he was very interested in cars when we were debating which experience to start with. We approached the BMW Performance Center and they have been a great partner for us.”
“Me and The Players’ Lounge just sat down and started exploring ideas,” Milton said. “I let them know that I have a keen interest in cars, especially performance cars. We had the idea to do something new in the NIL area and it was something that has never been done before. I thought it would be a great experience to get behind the wheel of some fast cars and interact with the fans at the same time.”
Other upcoming The Players’ Lounge experiences include a round of golf with Ladd McConkey and a hunt with Keith Marshall.
How does it work?
Five custom KM2 (Milton branded) NFTs will be auctioned on June 19th and the highest bidder will be paired with Milton for the afternoon at the track. The other four top bidders will be in attendance and paired with “UGA Lettermen and Surprise Guests.”
Radio station 680 The Fan will broadcast the event live and several UGA veterans and special guests will be in attendance.
“I’m too scared to go skydiving or jump out of a plane,” Milton said. “I’ve never taken a course like this before. I can’t wait to just get out there and have fun with these high performance cars.”
This is the latest NIL opportunity presented to a UGA player following the Bulldogs’ national championship title. In less than a year since the NIL legislation became NCAA law, many Georgian players have benefited from opportunities and deals through various companies.
Milton, who recently partnered with Excel Sports Management, said he and the team discussed NIL last preseason.
“At this point, I just want to focus on the football aspect and I feel like (Excel Sports) has great connections, so I let them go and let them do it all,” Milton said. “We spoke as a team and agreed that our main goal is to play football. We knew that if we win games, everyone will eat at the end of the day. It’s the same mindset this year. Of course people have deals and stuff, but we can’t focus on that.”
Clearly, Georgia’s hard work paid off as they celebrated on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium as black and red confetti tumbled down. In the championship season, Milton rushed for 264 yards and a touchdown as a sophomore.
“(The national championship) was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Milton said. “Being able to be part of this team and practicing with my brothers every day. It was such a blessing and an exhilaration to get there and cash it all out.”
The running back, who is expected to have a bigger role with James Cook and Zamir White on NFL rosters this season, said he has the same expectation and mindset this offseason.
“Just through practice and hard work, we have enough (talent) back to maintain that standard and take on the things that we appreciated last year that helped us the most.”
But in the off-season, Milton looks forward to that experience of being quick with fans. Leicht talked about how such opportunities would not have been possible before NIL.
“It gives players a chance to have fun, builds their brand, and it gives fans a chance to get closer than they ever would have been,” said Leicht. “It was a different world. We can become a safe place for student athletes because it’s run by lettermen and former athletes.”
For more details and to register for the Players’ Lounge auction, click here.
McClain Baxley is a recruiting reporter for the Athens Banner-Herald and USA TODAY Network. You can reach him via email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @mcclainbaxley.