UCLA gymnast Samantha Sakti can thank her parents for $10,000 NIL deal

 Samantha Sakti competes on the balance beam during a UCLA gymnastics meet.
Samantha Sakti flipped over her deal with Sam’s Club.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

What’s in a name?

For Samantha Sakti, $10,000.

Largely by virtue of her given name, the UCLA gymnast was one of four college athletes who recently signed five-figure name, image and likeness deals with warehouse retailer Sam’s Club.

It helps that Sakti is a member of one of the country’s most high-profile college gymnastics teams and has more than 4,000 followers on Instagram, but — let’s be honest — the first name was a must; Sam’s Club is only signing athletes named Sam.

The company also has signed Central Florida sprinter Samieryah Bradwell, Georgia State wide receiver Sam Pinckney and Southern Methodist goalkeeper Samantha Estrada, with plans to sign six additional athletes. Sam’s Club said it would fill the remainder of its team via a TikTok contest running through Sept. 27.

Might want to get on that, UCLA center Sam Marrazzo.

One of UCLA basketball’s leading ambassadors, Nan Wooden, the daughter of coaching legend John Wooden, died early Tuesday morning from natural causes.


“I’m so grateful to Sam’s Club for giving me the opportunity to be part of its inaugural college team,” Sakti said in a statement. “And I’m proud that they selected me to represent their brand as a college gymnast.”

A junior from Arcadia, Sakti logged personal bests of 9.8 on vault, 9.95 on beam and 9.925 on floor for the Bruins last season. She starred in the classroom as well, becoming a 2021 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar.

She also had the right name to capitalize on the new NIL craze. Thanks, Mom and Dad.