He might be one of the top cornerbacks in the nation, but his name is somehow even cooler than his football talent. Alabama Crimson Tide cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry is a player to know for college football fans, analysts, and NFL Draft aficionados alike, but what is his real name?
What Is Kool-Aid McKinstry’s Real Name?
If you think his parents had been drinking the Kool-Aid when they registered McKinstry’s birth, think again. The Alabama cornerback’s real name is Ga’Quincy McKinstry.
That name has some delightful rhyming quality to it, but it’s not going to capture the attention of a nation in the same way as being named Kool-Aid will. The Alabama cornerback has a guaranteed first-ballot entry in every “All-Name” team he’s ever been eligible for.
So, why did McKinstry change his name to Kool-Aid from Ga’Quincy?
The standout Alabama cornerback has been nicknamed “Kool-Aid” since he was a little kid. He earned the name from his grandma early on in life when she said that his smile reminded her of the Kool-Aid Man — the long-standing mascot of the flavored drink mix who is known for his “Oh Yeah!” catchphrase.
A nickname turned into one of college football’s greatest names and talking points in 2021. McKinstry legally became “Kool-Aid” as a true freshman at Alabama. His name changed on the team’s online roster page, and any trace of “Ga’Quincy” vanished into the ether.
Still, the Alabama cornerback hasn’t forgotten who he is. At SEC Media Days earlier this year, McKinstry was one of the Crimson Tide representatives and rocked up in Nashville wearing a chain that had the Kool-Aid Man holding a “G” as an homage to his real name.
For those skeptical of the current Name, Image, and Likeness environment in college football, McKinstry’s name change to Kool-Aid could be seen as a gimmick or marketing ploy designed to maximize his earning potential. A selling of the soul for fiscal gain, if you will.
However, there’s a wholesome, family-orientated reason behind the change from “Ga’Quincy” to “Kool-Aid” for McKinstry. What better way to honor a family member than by celebrating their influence by legally changing your name?
Former Fresno State WR Jalen Cropper did something similar when he legally changed his last name to Moreno-Cropper ahead of the 2022 college season.
Of course, McKinstry has been able to cash in on his earning potential as a result of the name change. As a true freshman at Alabama, he signed a deal with the drink brand within 48 hours of the change in NIL legislation.
McKinstry is represented for NIL purposes by VaynerSports, while VaynerMedia is the creative agency partner of the drink’s company.
The result was a full multimedia onslaught to announce the NIL deal, including the official Kool-Aid social media account changing its name to “Ga’Quincy McKinstry” for the day, while the Alabama cornerback changed his to “Kool-Aid Man”.