Panini America has signed a trading card and autograph deal with its first high school athlete.
The company has announced an exclusive, multi-year deal with Tre Johnson, one of the highest ranked players in the class of 2024 who recently left his Texas home and moved to Missouri, which has less stringent NIL rules.
Texas law currently doesn’t allow high school athletes to sign NIL deals and still compete at the interscholastic level.
A 6’5” shooting guard who played for Lake Highlands High School in Dallas, Johnson recently transferred to national power Link Academy in Branson, Missouri, for his senior season. Johnson has signed with LIFT Sports Management for NIL representation. He’s currently playing on the US Men’s National Team at the FIBA U19 Men’s World Cup in Hungary.
“It’s always been a dream to have my own trading card, and now through my partnership with Panini, it’s happening,” Johnson stated. “I’m excited for my first basketball trading cards and can’t wait to keep working together on more fun projects.”
“This is a milestone for Panini America, and Tre Johnson will be an excellent partner for our brand,” said Jason Howarth, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Athlete Relations. “Not only is he one of the best basketball players in the country, but he’s an athlete from our backyard (Dallas, TX) and someone we have had our eye on. We are excited to support Tre and help him grow as he continues to progress in his basketball career.”
Johnson is favored to wind up playing college basketball for a year, with Baylor, Texas, Kansas and Kentucky among the likely landing spots. It’s anticipated he’ll be a 2025 NBA lottery pick.
Johnson joins Luka Doncic, Charles Barkley, recent NBA Draft Picks Amen and Ausar Thompson, David Beckham, Christian Pulisic and Kylian Mbappe as Panini exclusive athletes.