This March Madness®, Degree® the Official Deodorant of the NCAA and Two-Time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo Will Celebrate Five Exceptional Walk-On Basketball Student-Athletes with Over $100K in NIL Deals To Put Toward Education

Degree® is working with Antetokounmpo to Encourage College Basketball Fans to Nominate Walk-Ons That Have Overcome Adversity to Receive Support and Keep Playing the Game They Love

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., March 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- This year to celebrate March Madness, Degree® – the world's #1 antiperspirant and Official Deodorant of the NCAA and Final Four – is awarding five exceptional walk-on student-athletes an NIL deal with resources to put toward their education to keep playing the game they love.

Each year America celebrates the standouts and stars during March Madness®, but there is another group of players whose efforts go largely unrecognized—they are the walk-ons. These athletes are not recruited by their teams and don't have athletic scholarships but give just as much passion and effort to their team. So as a brand that fights for a world where everyone has the confidence to move beyond their limits Degree® is recognizing five exceptional walk-on student-athletes who are pushing through barriers to achieve the collegiate athletic experience of their dreams through the 'Walk On' campaign.

Each walk-on will receive a $25,000 NIL deal to cover the average costs and living expenses for one year of college, so they can continue to play basketball without the stress of paying for education. Each student-athlete will also be set up with a professional mentor from Degree's parent company, Unilever, to guide them as they navigate their college years and post-graduation success.

"We're committed to giving college athletes the opportunity to share their stories of adversity to help inspire others," said Desi Okeke, Brand Director, Degree® Deodorant. "The Degree® Walk-On program is the epitome of that notion, and a testament to how the brand continues to take a more thoughtful and meaningful approach to partnerships with college athletes.

As part of the brand's efforts, Degree® has also partnered with two-time NBA MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, to announce a nationwide search to find a fifth walk-on to join this Degree roster. Current walk-ons and fans can nominate individuals by sharing their story on where the contest will be live today through March 19th, 2023. The fifth walk-on will be revealed during the Men's Final Four weekend in Houston.

"For me, I always believed that the work is never done, and to be great in this sport you have to have focus and determination every day. These four student athletes have overcome adversity and have an undeniable passion to continue playing the sport they love," said Antetokounmpo, the 7x NBA All-Star from the Milwaukee Bucks. "As an official Degree® 2023 partner for this year, I'm proud to kick off our partnership by finding and celebrating one more student-athlete who's inspiring the next generation with their story and journey to get where they are today as a walk-on student athlete."

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The five walk-ons will join 33 student-athletes who are part of Degree's Breaking Limits program comprised of athletes from a range of sports, geographies, abilities, and backgrounds, who have all persevered to break through their own limits, and inspired their peers and the next generation of athletes and non-athletes to do the same. Degree's four walk-on student-athletes include:
  • Andre Johnson Jr. (Men's Basketball, University of Connecticut) – Andre is a freshman guard at the University of Connecticut. He was a highly touted prospect in high school but faced rescinded offers after being out his senior season due to tearing all the ligaments in his left arm. Motivated to keep playing, Andre continued his basketball career at the University of Connecticut where he ended up earning a roster spot his freshman year.
  • Lauren Zwetzig (Women's Basketball, University of Notre Dame) – Lauren is a junior guard at Notre Dame, where she transferred her sophomore year. Assuming her collegiate basketball career was over, she applied to be the manager of the women's team to stay close to the sport but was later offered a walk-on position after proving her talents on the practice team.
  • Ronnie Porter (Women's Basketball, University of Wisconsin) – Ronnie is a freshman guard at University of Wisconsin. Ronnie received several offers but chose University of Wisconsin to shape her future in the nonprofit space; an area she's very passionate about. The team contacted her and after proving her value on the practice team she's received great playing time.
  • Spencer Hubbard (Men's Basketball, Duke University) - Spencer is a junior guard where he was on the practice team his freshman year before earning a walk-on spot as a sophomore. At every level throughout his career, others would consider Spencer undersized, but this has only motivated his relentless effort, positive attitude, and tremendous success.

"Not only is Degree ® my first NIL deal, the brand is also providing me with a platform to tell my story and share my walk-on experience, which is not something that is common," said Spencer Hubbard of Duke University. "A majority of NIL deals target star recruits and players, so the opportunity to be a member of Degree's #BreakingLimits team and receive financial support toward my college career is truly a life changing experience."

The 'Walk-On' campaign is part of Degree's® larger brand mission to inspire the confidence to break barriers. Degree® has committed more than $5 million over the last five years to inspire more people to move beyond their limits as part of its broader global Breaking Limits program. This program supports those who face the biggest barriers to being active – whether those barriers are due to race, sexual orientation, ability level, gender, age and more - and provides them access to coaches and mentors, along with safe spaces to move. The program is meant to support the brand's long-term commitment to help millions of young people transform their lives through the power of movement by 2030.

About Degree®

Degree® deodorants and antiperspirants are designed to inspire the confidence in everyone to move more. We make it our business to know about sweat, and what we learn informs every product innovation to help you keep moving. As a brand designed for and dedicated to promoting movement, Degree® has always believed in the power of movement to enhance our wellbeing. Yet, we know that the opportunity to move is not distributed equally, which is why we have made a commitment to ensure everyone has the freedom to move and help youth transform their lives through the power of movement. We are bringing this commitment to life through a variety of ongoing partnerships and programs that strive to help everyone find the confidence to move beyond limits. Visit and follow us on Instagram and Twitter to learn more.

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About Unilever North America

Unilever is one of the world's leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment products, with sales in over 190 countries and products used by 3.4 billion people every day. We have 148,000 employees and generated sales of €52.4 billion in 2021. Over half of our footprint is in developing and emerging markets. We have around 400 brands found in homes all over the world – including iconic brands like Dove, Knorr, Hellmann's, Magnum, Axe, Ben & Jerry's, Degree, Seventh Generation, St. Ives, Suave, TRESemmé, and Vaseline.

Our vision is to be the global leader in sustainable business and to demonstrate how our purpose-led, future-fit business model drives superior performance. We have a long tradition of being a progressive, responsible business. It goes back to the days of our founder William Lever, who launched the world's first purposeful brand, Sunlight Soap, more than 100 years ago, and it's at the heart of how we run our company today.

The Unilever Compass, our sustainable business strategy, is set out to help us deliver superior performance and drive sustainable and responsible growth, while:

- improving the health of the planet;
- improving people's health, confidence and wellbeing; and
- contributing to a fairer and more socially inclusive world.

While there is still more to do, in the past year we're proud to have achieved sector leadership in S&P's Dow Jones Sustainability Index, 'Triple A' status in CDP's Climate, Water and Forest benchmarks, and to be named as the top ranked company in the GlobeScan/SustainAbility Sustainability Leaders survey for the eleventh consecutive year.

For more information on Unilever U.S. and its brands visit:
For more information on Unilever Canada and its brands visit:

Thea Nagle
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