Ghalee Wadood Jr. is a rising third-grader at 54th Street Elementary School in View Park.
He’s a pretty typical 9-year-old kid. He likes playing video games and hanging out with friends.
And he loves sports. He’s active in baseball, track and karate, but his favorite athletic activity, by far, is football.
After a standout first season in rapper Snoop Dogg’s youth football league, Wadood has signed a name, image and likeness deal with the Family 4 Life sports and entertainment agency.
His father says it’s a six-figure NIL deal.
OK, so maybe he isn’t exactly a typical kid.
But Ghalee Wadood Sr. says his son doesn’t seem to know that.
“Ain’t nothing changed,” he told The Times. “Like now, we just finished eating dinner. We’re doing an interview, we’re on the phone. Then he’ll go back in his room and play Madden and get on the phone with his boys and have a big ol’ group chat. He doesn’t really know what’s going on.”
The Snoop Youth Football League was started in 2005 by Snoop Dogg and Wadood Sr.’s older brother, Khalil Wadood, who’s the commissioner of the league. Wadood Sr. has served as a volunteer coach on and off, including this season, when his son was finally old enough to play tackle football.
Wadood Jr. made the most of his opportunity, winning trophies for team MVP, top receiver and top defensive back. When the young player’s NIL deal was announced last week, Snoop Dogg tweeted the news.
Wadood Sr. shares his son’s love for football. The former Dorsey High and San Jose State defensive back held various coaching and front office jobs at the youth, high school and college levels before becoming the high school coordinator for football development for the Rams last year.
Still, football doesn’t come up in conversation as much as one might think when Wadood Jr. is at home with his parents and four sisters.
“We talk business here,” said Wadood Sr., who is using the NIL deal as an opportunity to introduce his concepts that go beyond athletics and might end up being much more important to his son’s future.
“There’s a lot of business going on behind this. Like, we’re getting a lot of attention for football and how good he is athletically, and that’s great. We love the attention, but it gives us a chance to start teaching the kids at a young age financial literacy, businesses and ownership.”
Wadood Sr. offered an example involving a hypothetical $400,000 house.
“Ghalee, do you put $400,000 down?” he asked his son. “How much do you put down?”
Wadood Jr. answered without hesitation.
“3½ percent,” he said.
The response elicited a satisfied chuckle from his father.
“So this is a way that he’s learning and that’s where we’re getting to,” Wadood Sr. said. “He’s just a kid, he’s gonna have fun and we’re gonna teach him these things along the way.”
Right now, the younger Wadood has a one-word plan for his future:
His father is comfortable with that, knowing that his son is also being prepared for a future beyond football as well.
“He’s just a kid and we’ll continue to let him live his life and live his dream,” Wadood Sr. said. “But we’re going to continue to push the business end, you know just thinking outside of the box because we don’t want him to put all his marbles into making it in the NFL. I’m just trying to open him up to seeing other things other than just sports.”