California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed the CA-SB206 bill (the Fair Pay to Play Act) into law, which will now allow college athletes to hire agents and sign endorsement deals, among other things. Newsom signed that bill on LeBron James' The Shop, and it also made The Golden State the first in the U.S. to permit athletes to make money off their likeness(es), name(s), and image(s).
In what should come as no surprise to anybody who's ever read anything from a beat writer in any sport, James was asked about the signing while speaking to media at the Lakers' training camp. During that conversation, LeBron talked about what would've happened had he hypothetically chosen to go the college route instead of turning pro right after high school.
"Pretty much that No. 23 jersey would've got sold all over the place without my name on the back and everybody would've known the likeness," James said, per The Washington Post's Ben Golliver. "My body would've been on the NCAA basketball game, 2004. [OSU's] Schottenstein Center would've been sold out every night. Coming from — me and my mom didn't have anything, we wouldn't have been able to benefit at all from it. And the university would've been able to capitalize on everything. And I would've been there for that year or two or whatever. I understand what those kids are going through, I feel for those kids that have been going through it for so long."
Previously on The Shop, James also called the freshly signed bill a "game changer for student athletes and for equity in sports." He went on to elaborate. "Athletes at every level deserve to be empowered and to be fairly compensated for their work, especially in a system where so many are profiting off of their talents," he said. "Part of the reason I went to the NBA was to get my mom out of the situation she was in. I couldn’t have done that in college with the current rules in place. This bill will help student athletes who are in a similar situation."
The bill is set to take effect on January 1, 2023.