STORRS, Connecticut — UConn women’s basketball star Paige Bueckers may be helping the Huskies win from the sidelines this season, but that is not stopping her influence on the sport.
The 21-year-old, who turned down an opportunity to join the WNBA early to remain a Husky for another year, has made Fortune Magazine’s 40 Under 40 list.
The junior guard is listed under “culture and society” alongside singer Rihanna, filmmaker Lena Waithe, French soccer star Kylian Mbappe, social media star Khaby Lame, podcaster Alex Cooper, U.S. Department of Labor chief economist Joelle Gamble and Christian Smalls, interim president of the Amazon Labor Union.
In its write-up, the magazine praised Bueckers for taking advantage of the NCAA rule change that allows collegiate athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness.
“While most male athletes who graduate into professional basketball can expect annual salaries in the millions, expected compensation in the WNBA is in the thousands,” the magazine wrote. “The NCAA rule change proves that entrepreneurial female athletes like Bueckers have what it takes to promote women’s sports—as well as or better than their schools, leagues, or organizations ever could.”
Bueckers made history when she became the first-ever NCAA student-athlete to be signed by Gatorade in December 2021. That announcement came three weeks after she announced a partnership with StockX.
The former national player of the year is out for the 2022-23 basketball season with a torn ACL in her left knee.
Bueckers missed 19 games last season after suffering a left knee tibia plateau fracture and torn meniscus in early December. She returned to lead the Huskies to the Final Four, where the Huskies lost to South Carolina in the championship game in Minneapolis, 10 miles from her Minnesota hometown.
She finished the season averaging 14.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game, showing how much she means to the team in a 27-point effort against North Carolina State that sent the Huskies to their 14th straight Final Four.
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