ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 02: Kool-Aid McKinstry #1 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs 27-24 in the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 02, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 02: Kool-Aid McKinstry #1 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs 27-24 in the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 02, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Kool-Aid McKinstry: A Name to Remember

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Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry is, by far, one of the most unique players in the 2024 draft class. Not only is his nickname interesting, but so is McKinstry himself. Here is a quick look at who the cornerback is as a person, not just an athlete.

How he got his nickname

Some people might know about McKinstry’s Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) deal with a popular drink brand. In August of 2021, the athlete officially partnered with Kool-Aid.

However, many people probably don’t know how he achieved such a nickname. 

Before he was “Kool-Aid,” he was Ga’Quincy. However, according to his family, the cornerback has been called “Kool-Aid” ever since he was a baby. 

Brenda Allen, McKinstry’s grandmother, said that he entered the world with a smile rather than tears or screams.

“I told his mom,” Brenda said, “‘Look at this boy with this big Kool-Aid smile on his face.'”

He was so used to being called “Kool-Aid” that he even told his Kindergarten teacher that was his name.

“Never did I think that nickname would be big like it is,” Brenda said to Tuscaloosa News. “I didn’t expect that name would get you somewhere, or that name is going to be a household name like the Kool-Aid drink. I never thought that.”

Kool-Aid’s contribution to the world

McKinstry’s impact on the world is so much more than just his name, though. The 21-year-old recently visited his high school and surprised some of the school’s athletes.

In November, he shared a video of his visit to his high school in Pinson, Alabama. McKinstry shared some advice with the school’s basketball team (which he was once a part of) and even donated Beats by Dre headphones to each of the team members.

McKinstry played both football and basketball at the University of Alabama until his sophomore year, So, I am sure the team appreciated his words and his gesture.

He also visited the A.H. Parker High School football team in Birmingham earlier this year. There, the cornerback shared advice with them regarding the importance of determination and teamwork

It is evident that McKinstry doesn’t mind sharing his wisdom with those who look up to him.

Words from his coach

Former Alabama head coach Nick Saban has expressed his appreciation for McKinstry before, noting that his work with others benefits himself, as well.

“You know, he’s done a good job. I think, you know, he has a lot of confidence in what he’s supposed to do and I think he’s starting to see the importance of how influencing other people can actually create value for himself,” Saban explained. “But that’s a little harder to do at corner than it is when you’re playing safety or star. Because you’re in the middle of things and you’re making calls, but he’s done a good job of that.”

Although Saban is referring to his work on the field, his words could be applied to the cornerback’s actions off the field, as well.

In January, McKinstry officially declared for the 2024 NFL Draft. Until then, coaches should be aware of the kind of person he is, even when he isn’t wearing a uniform.

Victoria Jonach is an aspiring writer and media analyst fascinated by what kinds of activities players participate in off the football field. Growing up in New Jersey, she is a New York Giants fan and attends Rutgers University, pursuing a career in Journalism and Media Studies. She writes for FirstRoundMock.com covering anticipated draft picks and their acts of volunteerism, entrepreneurship, and other interests that shape these individuals.

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